FENS Voices is a communications initiative that focuses the spotlight on the FENS neuroscience community and its activities in Europe and beyond. Inspired by our community’s exceptional work and commitment, the interview series aims to amplify the voices and experiences of our members, highlight their impact and inspire and inform future neuroscientists, the public and interested groups about brain research. The series also serves to initiate dialogue and exchange within the neuroscience community.

Ugne Birstonaite: Setting goals

25 November 2022. Ugne Beatrice Birstonaite is a student in grade 12 at Vilnius Vytautas Magnus Gymnasium in Lithuania, who won 3rd place in the International Brain Bee competition. Her curiosity and interest in lucid dreaming developed into a passion for brain research. After going to university, she plans to work in academia and to pursue her own research. Read the full interview.



Helene Li: Becoming a Brain Bee champion

11 November 2022. Helene Li, a Grade 10 student in the International Baccalaureate program at Merivale High School in Ottawa, Canada, became the 2022 world champion of the International Brain Bee (IBB). As Helene looks ahead, she plans to incorporate additional neuroscience sessions into her school’s Science Club and encourage her peers interested in neuroscience to keep learning about the brain and perhaps even compete in the next IBB competitions. FENS caught up with Helene to find out more about her interests and aspirations. Read the full interview.


Alexandros Tsimpolis: Learning from a heat blocker

28 October 2022. Alexandros Tsimpolis is a PhD student from the Medical Department of University of Crete, Greece. He received his BSc in Biology from the University of Crete and went on to specialise in the Molecular Basis of Human Disease.  In 2022 he received a fellowship from the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation for the continuation of his work and was awarded with a NENS exchange grant to visit and collaborate with the Gene Regulation and Adaptive Behaviours lab in the University of Sorbonne, France. Read the full interview.


Dr Rui Rodrigues: Choosing the right calls

14 October 2022. Dr Rui Rodrigues (FR) research endeavours after receiving a FENS Brain Awareness Week 2022 grant. Dr Rodrigues is happiest collaborating in multidisciplinary teams, envisioning new projects and answering novel scientific questions as well as making (neuro)science more accessible and inclusive to the public. He started as a researcher in Dr Ana Sebastião’s lab, at Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, but is currently moving to Bordeaux, France, as a postdoctoral fellow in Giovanni Marsicano’s lab at Neurocentre Magendie. Read the full interview.


Dr Nana Voitenko: Neuroscience on the frontline

30 September 2022. Nana Voitenko is founder and Vice President of the Ukrainian Society for Neurosciences and professor of Biomedicine and Neurosciences at the Kyiv Academic University. Her lab team studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of pain of various origins and her research is currently supported by an NIH RO1 grant. Originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, Dr Voitenko obtained her PhD in Biophysics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and then married and moved to Kyiv when it was still part of the USSR. Facing challenge after challenge, her personal story is an extraordinary, inspiring example of the courage and commitment of all scientists who continue their research with hopeful resolve under the most daunting conditions. Read the full interview.

Dr Anna Beyeler: Interview on anxiety, mice and an atom microscope

15 September 2022. Anna Beyeler received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Bordeaux in 2006. Her expertise in electrophysiology roots in her doctoral training in the same university, after which she joined the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory (MIT) as post-doctoral fellow. There, she identified circuit and synaptic mechanisms of emotions in the amygdala, underlying memory formation and retrieval of positive and negative associations. After five years, she started her lab in Neurocentre Magendie within the vibrant Neuroscientific community of Bordeaux, where her team is studying the contribution of circuits of the insular cortex to emotional valence and anxiety, as well as the alteration of those circuits in pre-clinical models of psychiatric disorders. Read the full interview.

Share your story with us!

If you have any questions or have a story to share, please contact communications@fens.org.