FENS has invited four distinguished speakers with extensive expertise in their respective fields.

Moderator – Áine Kelly

Áine Kelly is a Professor in Physiology at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. She holds a degree in Physiology and PhD in Neuroscience from Trinity College Dublin and completed postdoctoral work in both Trinity College Dublin and Université Paris Sud before taking up her academic position. Her research lies at the interface between neuroscience and exercise physiology and it aims to further our understanding of how regular physical activity can protect brain function throughout life. She is a former President of Neuroscience Ireland, Ireland’s national neuroscience society, sits on the FENS Committee for Higher Education and Training (CHET) and is a Trustee of the Physiological Society.



Speaker – Matthew Campbell 

Matthew Campbell is a Professor in Genetics and Head of Department at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics in Trinity College Dublin. In 2013, he was awarded the Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA), which allowed him to establish his own research group in TCD. Since then, he has received numerous additional awards for his research which focuses on understanding the role of the so-called blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood-retina barrier (BRB) in healthy and diseased states. In 2020, he was awarded one of Europe’s most prestigious prizes by the European Research Council (ERC). In the same year, he was elected Science Foundation Ireland’s early career researcher of the year.  He also leads the SFI funded EYE-D programme, a four year EUR 3.2 million initiative which is focused on identifying novel therapeutic targets for ocular diseases. He is also a PI in the SFI funded Centre Future-Neuro.  He is the founder and Director of the Neurovascular Genetics Unit at TCD and has over 20 years of research expertise in the area of blood-brain and blood-retina barrier biology. He sits on the scientific advisory board of the Moorfields Hospital Charity as well as the UK charity Sight Research UK.


Speaker – Rebekah Mannix

Rebekah Mannix MD, MPH is an Associated Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Brain Injury Center.  Dr Mannix’s translational research platform spans from preclinical TBI through randomised controlled trials in the emergency department setting.  Dr Mannix will lead an upcoming multicenter aid-to-diagnosis study of blood-brain biomarkers in pediatric TBI.




Speaker – Jakub Tomasik 

Jakub Tomasik’s research focuses on improving diagnostic and treatment approaches for major neuropsychiatric conditions, including bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia, by utilizing biomarker and digital data. He is a Senior Research Associate at the Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research, led by Professor Sabine Bahn. Prof Tomasik’s background is in Biotechnology and Neuroscience, with experience at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, and Jagiellonian University in Krakow.




Speaker – Kenneth W. Witwer

Kenneth W. Witwer is an Associate Professor of molecular and comparative pathobiology and neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. As nominated President-Elect of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV), Witwer previously served as Secretary General and Executive Chair of Science and Meetings of the society. His laboratory studies extracellular vesicles (EVs), noncoding and extracellular RNA (exRNA) and enveloped viruses, including HIV and SARS-CoV-2. Witwer is a member of the Richman Family Precision Medicine Center of Excellence in Alzheimer’s Disease, has advised the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US National Institutes of Health and is an associate editor of the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles.