The Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is composed of 17 elected or appointed members.
The committee’s composition takes into account its members’ fields of scientific expertise and the geographical distribution.
The Committee prepares and independently supervises the scientific programme of the FENS Forum, and selects the plenary lecturers, symposia and technical workshops.
Christelle Baunez, France
Christelle Baunez obtained her PhD thesis in Neurosciences from the Université de la Méditerranée (Marseille, France) with Marianne Amalric, on the glutamate/dopamine functional interactions within the basal ganglia. She then pioneered the studies showing the involvement of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in intact and parkinsonian rats in non-motor processes (attention and inhibition control) during her post-doctoral work in Trevor Robbins’ laboratory at Cambridge University (UK). Since October 1997, she has been occupying a permanent position at the CNRS. She has studied the role of STN in motivational processes, suggesting the STN as a surgical target for the treatment of addiction. She is currently leading projects aiming at validating this hypothesis in a translational manner in rats, non-human primates and human subjects. Now Directrice de Recherche (DR1) at the CNRS, she is leading the team BAGAMORE (Basal Ganglia, Motivation and Reward) at the Institute of Neurosciences of Timone in Marseille.
She has published 61 international articles and 8 book chapters. She has been awarded various prizes and fundings at national and international level and has been invited to speak at nearly 100 meetings. Former president of the scientific council of the Institute of biological sciences of the CNRS, she is currently president of the scientific council of France Parkinson and Principal Editor of the Springer/Nature journal Psychopharmacology.
Alain Chédotal, France
Chair Host Society Committee
Dr Alain Chédotal, received a PhD degree from Pierre & Marie Curie University in Paris and completed his postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley (US). He was recruited at INSERM in 1997 and is currently Research director (DRCE) at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and group leader at the Vision Institute in Paris, France.
His research aims at understanding how cell-cell interactions are regulated by axon guidance molecules during normal development and in pathologies. Most of his studies are conducted in vivo using a variety of mouse models video-microscopy and biochemical methods. In the past few years, he has developed novel molecular and imaging techniques (such as tissue clearing an 3D light sheet microscopy) to study axon guidance and embryology. His team contributes to the human cell atlas project and started to build the first 3D cellular atlas of the developing human embryo.
Alain was elected at the Academia Europaea, the French Academy of Sciences and is a member of the European Dana alliance for Brain Initiatives (EDAB). Alain is Editor at Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Section Head at Faculty of 1000, and Editoral board member at Development Growth and Differentiation, Brain and Neuroscience Advances and Developmental Neurobiology.
John Cryan, Ireland
John F. Cryan is Professor & Chair, Dept. of Anatomy & Neuroscience, University College Cork, Ireland and is also a Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland. Prof. Cryan’s current research is focused on understanding the interaction between brain, gut & microbiome and how it applies to stress, psychiatric and immune-related disorders at key time-windows across the lifespan. He is a Senior Editor of Neuropharmacology, Neurobiology of Stress and of Nutritional Neuroscience and is on the Editorial Boards of a further 15 journals. He has received numerous awards including UCC Researcher of the Year in 2012; UCC Research Communicator of the Year 2017, the University of Utrecht Award for Excellence in Pharmaceutical Research in 2013 and being named on the Highly Cited Researcher list five times. He was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2017. He also received a Research Mentor Award from the American Gastroenterology Association, the Tom Connor Distinguished Scientist Award from Neuroscience Ireland and was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Antwerp, in 2018. He was a TEDMED speaker in 2014, TEDx in 2017 and is immediate Past-President of the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society.
Fiona Francis, France
Dr Fiona Francis initially studied Biochemistry at Bath University receiving a first class degree with honors in 1988. After working in the US and Australia as a Research assistant, she carried out her PhD in Human Genetics in Hans Lehrach’s group at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London. She received her PhD from University College London in 1995. This was followed by postdoctoral work at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin supported by a Peter and Traudl Stiftung fellowship. She then joined Jamel Chelly at the Institute Cochin in Paris to pursue a post-doctoral project studying the neurogenetics of cortical malformations, receiving an EMBO long term fellowship. In 2000 she was recruited by the French CNRS to continue her work studying molecular and cellular mechanisms of neurodevelopment. In 2008 she was laureate of Junior Group funding from the French biomedical research institute (Inserm) and a ‘Coup d’Elan’ prize from the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation. She established her group at Institute of Fer à Moulin (IFM), a neuroscience institute in the heart of Paris. In 2010 she became a CNRS research director and since 2020, she is now Director of the IFM. She co-leads a group ‘Cortical development and pathology’. Using various models, this group explores key mechanisms of neurodevelopment. Collaborating with clinicians and studying human gene mutations, they are interested in pathogenesis and physiopathology related to cortical malformations associated with epilepsy and intellectual disability, as well as more subtle cortical defects which give rise to autism spectrum disorder.
Balazs Hangya, Hungary
Balázs Hangya is the head of the Lendület Laboratory of Systems Neuroscience in the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Budapest. He was trained as a medical doctor at Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary and received his MD degree in 2006. He was also trained as a mathematician and received a master’s degree in Probability Theory and Statistics. He joined the laboratory of Tamas Freund at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Budapest, where he worked on the neural mechanisms of hippocampal and neocortical oscillations. He received his PhD in Neuroscience in 2010 from the Janos Szentagothai Doctoral School of the Semmelweis University. After his PhD, Hangya spent four and a half years in the US as a postdoctoral researcher. He joined the Kepecs lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where he studied the role of the basal forebrain cholinergic system in attention and learning. The Lendület Award from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences allowed him to return to his home country and start his independent lab in the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Budapest in 2015. His lab is interested in the neural basis of cognitive functions both in the normal and diseased brain.
Hailan Hu, China
Hailan Hu is Professor at School of Medicine at Zhejiang University. She received a BA in Biochemistry from Beijing University and a PhD in neuroscience (with Corey Goodman) from UC Berkeley. She then did postoc research with Dr. Roberto Malinow at CSHL. Before joining Zhejiang University, she was a principal investigator at the Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Her laboratory seeks to understand how emotional and social behaviors are encoded and regulated in the brain, with a main focus on the neural circuitry underlying depression and social dominance. Her team has identified the neural mechanism underlying the winner effect, by which individuals increase their chance of winning after previous victories. Her recent work has uncovered a new model to explain the etiology of depression and the rapid antidepressant actions of ketamine, involving NMDA receptor-dependent burst activity of lateral habenular neurons. Her work has led to the identification of several molecular targets (including T-type calcium channels, Kir4.1 channel and bCaMKII) for developing new antidepressant drugs.
Gregory Jefferis, United Kingdom
Greg Jefferis is an MRC Investigator at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), Cambridge, where he opened his group in 2008. Their research focuses on the neural circuit basis of behaviour using the Drosophila olfactory system as its main model. There are three main research areas: 1) sexually dimorphic circuits, 2) valence i.e. what features of brain organisation make some stimuli being innately attractive or repulsive, 3) learning and memory. In addition, they are major developers of tools for circuit mapping, especially connectomics.
Greg’s group was the first to identify widespread sex differences in the fly brain neuroanatomy and to uncover a sex-specific switch in connectivity and information flow in an animal brain. Recent work has combined electron microscopy whole brain connectomics with in vivo physiology and behaviour to understand the interaction between learned and innate behaviour.
Greg studied at Cambridge before obtaining his Neuroscience PhD at Stanford. He returned to Cambridge as a Wellcome Fellow before taking up his LMB position. Besides experimental work supported by the MRC and ERC, Greg directs the Wellcome-funded Drosophila Connectomics Group in the Cambridge Department of Zoology as part of an international collaboration with Oxford University and HHMI Janelia.
Katja Kanninen, Finland
Katja Kanninen heads the Neurobiology of Disease research group at the A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Eastern Finland. She studied cell biology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland and completed her PhD in neurobiology from the University of Kuopio, Finland, in 2009. After her postdoctoral period at the University of Melbourne, Australia, she returned to Finland and established her research group that studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. Her group is interested to understand how environmental exposures affect brain health, the role of glial cells in neurodegeneration, and in biomarker discovery. She develops human-based in vitro models for neurodegeneration and tests potential therapeutics using in vivo models.
Andrew King, United Kingdom
Andrew King is a Wellcome Principal Research Fellow and Professor of Neurophysiology at the University of Oxford. He heads the Auditory Neuroscience Group and is the Director of the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. He is also the Director of the University of Oxford Doctoral Training Programme in Neuroscience and a Fellow of Merton College. Andrew studied physiology at King’s College London and obtained his PhD from the National Institute for Medical Research. Apart from a spell as a visiting scientist at the Eye Research Institute in Boston, he has worked at the University of Oxford since then, where his research has been supported by fellowships from the Science and Engineering Research Council, the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine and the Wellcome Trust. Andrew is a recipient of the Wellcome Prize in Physiology and is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the Physiological Society. He is a Senior Editor at eLife and a Reviewing Editor at Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. Andrew’s research uses a combination of experimental and computational approaches to investigate how the brain adapts to the rapidly changing statistics that characterize real-life soundscapes, integrates other sensory and motor-related signals, and learns to compensate for altered auditory inputs resulting from hearing impairments.
Manuel Mameli, Switzerland
Member of the Programme Committee
Manuel Mameli obtained his master’s degree in Biology, Specialty Neuroscience, at the University of Cagliari. After that he joined the laboratory of Prof. C. Fernando Valenzuela at the University of New Mexico as predoctoral fellow. During this time, he received an in-depth training as an in vitro electrophysiologist by Dr. Mario Carta and Prof. C. Valenzuela. He then went on to pursue his doctoral studies at the University of Geneva in the laboratory of Prof. Christian Lüscher, where he also stayed as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2010, Manuel initially joined the Institut du Fer à Moulin INSERM Unit 839 directed by Dr. Jean-Antoine Girault, as a Junior Group Leader
before he obtained a Research position at INSERM. He then became Associate Professor at the Department of Fundamental Neuroscience at the University of Lausanne in 2017. His research wants to understand the circuit-specific synaptic and cellular modifications guiding motivated behaviours. Using a combination of approaches he aims to dissect brain function in physiological and pathological states such as addiction and depression using rodents as a model.
Manuel is a Member of the Fens-Kavli Network of Excellence and recipient of the Anna Monika Foundation Research Prize.
Liset Menendez de la Prida, Spain
Liset M de la Prida graduated in Physics in 1994 and received her PhD
from the Institute of Neuroscience in Alicante in 1998. After
postdoctoral training with Richard Miles in Paris she became Lab
Director at the Instituto Cajal in 2008. She was honored as the Best
Graduate Student and awarded the PhD Extraordinary Prize, and has earned
prestigious fellowships and grants from EMBO, HFSP and the European
Commission under different framework programs. The main goal of her
lab is to understand the function of hippocampal and para-hippocampal
circuits. She is a leading international expert in the study of the
basic mechanisms of physiological ripples and epileptic fast ripples,
with strong visibility as developer of novel groundbreaking
electrophysiological tools. Dr. de la Prida serves as an Editor for
specialized journals including Journal of Neuroscience Methods and
eNeuro, and has commissioning duties in the American Epilepsy Society
(Task Force Working Groups) and the Spanish Society of Neuroscience.
Angela Roberts, United Kingdom
Chair of the Programme Committee
Angela Roberts graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in Neurobiology and then obtained a PhD in Neuroendocrinology at the Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge. She stayed on in Cambridge to conduct postdoctoral studies and following four years as a Royal Society University Research Fellow she was appointed lecturer in the Department of Anatomy in 1996. There she developed a research programme to study prefrontal circuits underlying the regulation of positive and negative emotion in primates. She combines neural, pharmacological, cardiovascular, neuroimaging and genetic techniques to dissect out the role of distinct prefrontal circuits, and their modulation by the monoamines, in the regulation of threat and reward elicited responses, relevant to our understanding of symptoms of anxiety and anhedonia in neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her research is funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust. She was appointed Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience and Professorial fellow of Girton College in 2009 and was elected a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2016. In 2020 she was awarded the Goldman-Rakic Prize for outstanding achievements in cognitive neuroscience.
Angela has previously served on the councils for the European Brain and Behaviour Society and British Association for Psychopharmacology. She is currently Associate Editor at Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience and sits on the advisory board for Neuron.
Jonathan Roiser, United Kingdom
Jonathan Roiser is Professor of Neuroscience and Mental Health and Deputy Director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. His research aims to understand the neural and cognitive basis of mental health problems, especially disrupted motivation in depression. He studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge as an undergraduate and remained there for his doctorate in the Department of Psychiatry, including a year spent at the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Following post-doctoral work at the UCL Institute of Neurology he was appointed to the UCL faculty in 2007. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers which have attracted over 5,000 citations (ISI), and his h-index is 47. He was awarded the British Psychological Society’s Spearman Medal, the British Association for Psychopharmacology’s Senior Award, and the Philip Leverhulme Prize. He previously held funding from the MRC, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and the British Academy. He founded and directs two PhD schemes: the UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience; and the UCL Wellcome 4-year PhD Programme in Mental Health Science. He was a Section Editor for Neuroimage: Clinical for five years, and is on the Board of Reviewing Editors at eLife.
Anne Rosser, United Kingdom
Professor Anne Rosser is a Neuroscientist and Honorary Consultant Neurologist with a special interest in neurodegeneration, in particular Huntington’s Disease with which she has been involved since 1994. She is current Chair of the European Huntington’s Disease Network. She directs the Cardiff University Brain Repair Group, where the key focus is on repair and regeneration in neurodegenerative conditions such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and led the FP7 Consortium Repair-HD which addressed a range of preclinical and clinical questions important in translating stem cell therapies for Huntington’s disease. Along with Professors Gray and Busse, she runs an ongoing clinical trial of fetal cell neural Transplantation in Huntington’s Disease (TRIDENT).
Amar Sahay, United States
Amar Sahay is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, James and Audrey Foster MGH Research Scholar and Director of the laboratory on Brain Plasticity and function at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is principal faculty of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute of Harvard University and an Associate member of the BROAD Institute of Harvard and MIT. Dr. Sahay did his doctoral research in neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and performed postdoctoral research at Columbia University. The mission of the Sahay Lab is to generate insights into strategies to improve memory in aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and psychiatric disorders through basic neuroscience. Towards this goal, the Sahay lab employs a bottom-up approach to studying hippocampal functions and deploys
molecular genetic tools, ex vivo and in vivo electrophysiology, in vivo optical imaging, neural circuit manipulations and behavioral approaches. Traction for the Sahay lab’s approach to science is evinced in their publication record, citations, independent corroboration of findings, mentoring, placement of trainees in academia and industry and robust, funding track record. Publications from the Sahay lab have illuminated new directions for neurogenesis, memory, and emotion research. The lab’s discoveries and patents exemplify how we may harness basic science insights to rejuvenate, re-engineer and repair hippocampal circuits to enhance memory functions and optimize regulation of emotion. Dr. Sahay’s research program is supported by National Institutes of Health, private foundations and philanthropic support. Dr. Sahay is recipient of career development awards from the Society for Neuroscience and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. For more info: www.sahaylab.com
Anne-Laura van Harmelen, The Netherlands
Anne-Laura van Harmelen is Professor of Brain, Safety and Resilience at the Institute of Education and Child Studies at Leiden University, Netherlands. She leads the Centre for the Integration of Resilience Complexity Leiden. This centre focusses on examining the neurobiological mechanisms of risk and resilience in young people with a history of childhood adversity. The group takes a complexity science approach that integrates knowledge from cultural, social, cognitive and neurobiological factors and their interactions. Projects in the group focus on understanding the mechanisms that aid resilient responses to stress, and examining the social, cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms of suicidality in young people. She obtained her PhD in Psychology in 2013 at Leiden University, and moved to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. In Leiden, van Harmelen co-leads the Social Risk and Resilience programme. This programme brings together interdisciplinary scientific insights in the field of the brain, security and interventions. Through joint research projects, five faculties of Leiden University – Social Sciences, Governance and Global Affairs, Law, Archaeology and Humanities – try to better understand transgressive behaviour and subsequently provide a broad picture of the background, working method and effects of interventions in the field of security.
Tim Vogels, Austria
Professor Tim Vogels is a computational neuroscientist working at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria. He studied physics at Technische Universität Berlin and neuroscience at Brandeis University. He received his PhD in 2007 in the laboratory of Larry Abbott. After a postdoctoral stay in experimental neuroscience with Rafael Yuste at Columbia University, he returned to computational work and to Europe as a Marie Curie Reintegration Fellow in the laboratory of Wulfram Gerstner at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). In 2013 he moved to Oxford as a Sir Henry Dale Wellcome Trust & Royal Society Research Fellow to establish his own research group. He then became Associate Professor at the University of Oxford in 2016 before joining IST Austria in 2020. As a computational neuroscientist, he is looking to build models of neurons and neuronal networks that distill and re-articulate the current knowledge of how nervous systems compute at a mechanistic level.
Tim is a FENS-Kavli Scholar and recipient of the Bernstein Award for Computational Neuroscience. He also serves as Director and Founding Member of the Computational Neuroscience Imbizo and Worldwideneuro.com.