Symposia, workshops & special sessions

See below for all the Symposia, Workshops and Special Sessions taking place during the Festival. To see the sessions in chronological order, please see Programme by day



S1: Grid cells: Beyond self-location
Caswell Barry, University College London, UK (co-chair) - The contribution of grid cells to navigation​
Kimberly Stachenfeld, DeepMind, London, UK (co-chair) - Dimensionality reduction of a hippocampal predictive map with grid cells​
Michael Hasselmo, Boston University, US - Coding of space and time in the entorhinal cortex
Joseph O'Neill, Cardiff University, UK - Superficial layers of the medial entorhinal cortex replays independent of the hippocampus

S2: The multi-morbid old brain
Convened by the British Neuropathological Society
Johannes Attems, Newcastle University, UK (co-chair) - Neuropathology of age associated neurodegeneration
Tiago Outeiro, Georg August University, Germany (co-chair) - Protein modifications and interactions in neurodegeneration​
Lauren Walker, Newcastle University, UK - Post-translationally modified amyloid beta in neurodegeneration
Colin Smith, University of Edinburgh, UK - Brain banking in dementia research

S3: Precision therapy: Antisense oligonucleotides targeting coding and noncoding RNAs for neurological disorders
Convened by Neuroscience Ireland

Cristina Reschke, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Ireland (co-chair) - A microRNA-based disease-modifying therapy for epilepsy: journey to pre-clinical development​
Gerhard Schratt, ETH Zurich, Switzerland - Novel non-coding RNA transcripts and their binding proteins as targets to shape neuronal network stability
Sarah Tabrizi, University College London, UK - Therapies targeting DNA and RNA in Huntington's disease

S4: Brain network development
Convened by the French Neuroscience Society

Alain Chédotal, Institut de la Vision, France (co-chair) - 3D analysis of axon guidance with light sheet microscopy​
Rosa Cossart, INSERM, France - Development of hippocampal assemblies
Simon Butt, University of Oxford, UK - Interneuron diversity and development
Christopher Eaton, University of Birmingham, UK - Epilepsy, seizures and EEG findings in young people with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome

S5: Neurobiological candidates for the rapid antidepressant response to ketamine
Convened by the British Pharmacological Society

Philip Cowen, University of Oxford, UK - Psychopharmacological mechanisms involved in the rapid antidepressant , University of Tübingenactions of ketamine and nitrous oxide
John Krystal, Yale Medical School, USA - Glutamatergic responses to ketamine mediate neuroplasticity and antidepressio
Martin Walter, University of Tübingen - Brain network reflections of ketamine's glutamatergic and noradrenergic effects
Ginetta Collo, University of Brescia, Italy - Do actions of ketamine on dopaminergic transmission contribute to its antidepressant effects
Chair: Clare Stanford, UCL, UK

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S6: Kisspeptin: a novel regulator of sex hormone secretion and sexual behaviour​
Convened by the British Society for Neuroendocrinology

Waljit Dhillo, Imperial College London, UK - Kisspeptin modulates sexual and emotional brain processing in humans
Su Han, University of Otago, New Zealand (co-chair) - Arcuate kisspeptin neurons are the long-elusive hypothalamic pulse generator driving fertility​
Kevin O’Byrne, King's College London, UK (co-chair) - Amygdala kisspeptin, sexual behaviour and anxiety in rodent models​
Julie Bakker, University of Liège, Belgium - Female sexual behaviour in mice is controlled by kisspeptin neurones

S7: The link between neuroinflammation and dysregulated metabolism in the context of age and Alzheimer's disease
Convened by Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network Ireland

Marina Lynch, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair) - Inflammasome activation in microglia is accompanied by a switch towards glycolysis: Assessment of the impact on neuronal function​
Catherine B. Lawrence, University of Manchester, UK (co-chair) - The role of zinc deficiency and neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease​
Robert Cumming, University of Western Ontario, Canada - Age-associated metabolic dysregulation, cognitive function and AD
Michael Heneka, University of Bonn Medical Center, Germany - The inflammasome in AD

S8: Mental illness in children and adolescents: neuroscience, ethics and practice in psychopharmacology
Convened by the British Association of Psychopharmacology and the International Neuroethics Society

Paramala Santosh, King's College, London, UK - Child psychopharmacology and development: perspectives from real world clinical practice
Judith Homberg, Radboud University, The Netherlands - Psychopharmacology in the young and developing brain: perspectives from experimental animal studies
Argyris Stringaris, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, US - Manipulating the reward system to alleviate youth depression
Gabriela Pavarini, University of Oxford, UK - Early intervention and moral development in child psychiatry​
Chair: Mitul Mehta, KCL, UK

S9: Neural processes and precursors of self-initiated action
Nima Khalighinejad, University of Oxford, UK (co-chair) - Neural circuits of value-guided self-initiated action in non-human primates​
Patrick Haggard, University College London, UK (co-chair) - Volition and action in the human brain
Liad Mudrik, Tel Aviv University, Israel - To will or not to will: neural precursors of deliberate and arbitrary decisions
Joaquim Alves da Alves, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal - Dopamine neuron activity before action initiation

S10: Epigenetics of Neuropsychiatric Disorders 
Convened by The Genetics Society
Schahram Akbarian, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, USA - The Brain’s Folded Genomes. Implications for Schizophrenia and Other Psychiatric Disease
Arturas Petronis University of Toronto, Canada - Epigenetics and delayed age of onset of psychiatric disease
Therese Murphy, University of Exeter, UK - Genome-Wide DNA Methylation meta-analysis in the Brains of Suicide Completers
Elaine Murray, Ulster University, UK - DNA methylation analysis of samples from young adults with depression supports a link with the immune response​
Chair: Colum Walsh, Ulster University, UK

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S11: The neuroendocrinology of programmed rheostasis
Convened by the British Society for Neuroendocrinology

Tyler Stevenson, University of Aberdeen, UK (co-chair) - The role of thyroid hormone for long-term energy balance
Jaclyn Schwarz, University of Delaware, US - Impact of early-life immune activation on long-term immune function and the ontogeny of learning in males and females
Denise Hough, University of Glasgow, UK (co-chair) - Long-term regulation of steroid hormone biosynthesis​
Final speaker TBC

S12: Cognitive ageing: Inflammatory mechanisms driving changes in brain plasticity
The 'Neuronal Signaling' symposium, sponsored by Portland Press
Convened by Neuroscience Ireland

Yvonne Nolan, University College Cork, Ireland (co-chair) - Chronic hippocampal inflammation and cognitive decline: neurogenesis-mediated mechanisms​
Annamaria Cattaneo, IRCCS Fatebenefratelli Brescia, Italy - Role of the gut microbiome and inflammation in Alzheimer Disease
Sandrine Thuret, King’s College London, UK - Alteration of Hippocampal Neurogenesis by the human systemic milieu: A biomarker of cognitive aging and dementia
Aine Kelly, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair) - Regular physical activity protects against cognitive ageing: assessment of underlying anti-inflammatory mechanisms ​

S13: Characterizing addiction using neuroimaging
Jeff Dalley, University of Cambridge, UK (co-chair) - MRI-guided analysis of addiction vulnerability ​
Wolfgang Sommer, Mannheim CIMH, Germany - Developing better treatments for relapse prevention using a systems biology approach
Louise Paterson, Imperial College London, UK - Potential of NK1 antagonism to treat addiction in man 
Rebecca Elliott, University of Manchester, UK (co-chair) - Role of DRD3 and modulation of reward in treating addiction in man 

S14: Lifespan development in individuals with Down syndrome and the potential of trisomy 21 as a biological model for the causes of Alzheimer's disease
Convened by Alzheimer’s Research UK
Hana D'Souza, University of Cambridge & Birkbeck, University of London, UK (co-chair) - The importance of understanding individual differences in infants and toddlers with Down syndrome​
Andre Strydom, King's College London, UK (co-chair) - Prodromal features of Alzheimer's disease in Down syndrome​
Niamh O’Brien, Queen Mary University London, UK - Human chromosome 21: Genes as modulators of APP-driven Alzheimer pathology
Frances Wiseman, University College London, UK - Trisomy 21 causes a deficit in lysosomal cathepsins and alters APP/Aβ processing, independently of an extra copy of APP​

S15: Experience-dependent neuronal plasticity: An integrated view across different sensory modalities
Sponsored by Scientifica
Elisa Galliano, University of Cambridge, UK (co-chair) - Brief sensory deprivation triggers structural and functional plasticity in the olfactory bulb
Samuel Barnes, Imperial College London, UK (co-chair) - Experience-dependent homeostatic plasticity in visual circuits​
Martine Hamann, University of Leicester, UK - Experience-dependent auditory plasticity in health and disease
Samuel Cooke, King's College London, UK - Plasticity within Primary Visual Cortex Supports the Detection of Novelty 

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S16: Synaptic plasticity in health and disease
Convened by the Canadian Association for Neuroscience

Tim Bliss, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK - The discovery of LTP
Tomas Ryan, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland - Rethinking Memory: Dissecting the Role of Hippocampal Engram Cells in Memory Consolidation
Jaideep Bains, University of Calgary, Canada - Giving and receiving: stress, social transmission and the synapse
Shernaz Bamji, University of British Columbia, Canada - Dynamic post-translational palmitoylation of synaptic proteins and synaptic plasticity
Co-chair: Professor Graham Collingridge, University of Toronto, Canada.
Co-chair: Professor Paul Frankland, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.

S17: Cannabinoids: therapeutic potential in CNS disorders
Convened by Neuroscience Ireland

Roger Pertwee, University of Aberdeen, UK - Pharmacological actions and potential novel therapeutic uses of certain plant and synthetic cannabinoids
Eva Marco, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain - Cannabinoids in emotional control, is there a sex-dependent effect? 
Eric Downer, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair) - Therapeutically targeting innate immune signalling mechanisms in CNS disorders with cannabinoids
Michelle Roche, NUI Galway, Ireland (co-chair) - Endocannabinoid modulation of neuroinflammation: implications of psychiatric disorders and pain​

S18: Developing disease modifying therapies for Parkinson’s: From molecular mechanisms to clinical trials​
Convened by Parkinson’s UK

Maria G. Spillantini, University of Cambridge, UK - Alpha-synuclein's conversion from an essential protein to a neuronal killer?
Anthony HV Schapira, University College London, UK (co-chair) - Glucocerebrosidase: A risk factor for Parkinson's leads to the discovery of novel therapeutic approaches​
Giovanna R Mallucci, University of Cambridge, UK (co-chair) - PERK pathway modulation offers a new lease of life for old drugs as Parkinson's therapies​
Richard Mead, University of Sheffield, UK - Virtual Biotech partnership: Novel funding to harness the neuroprotective potential of Nrf2-ARE pathway activation

S19: The role of voltage-gated calcium channels in neuropsychiatric disorders
Sponsored by J&J
Nicola Hall, University of Oxford, UK - Diversity of CACNA1C and CACNA1D splice isoform profiles in human brain
Laurent Ferron , University College London, UK - Modulation of neuronal voltage-gated calcium channels by fragile X mental retardation protein
Nadine J Ortner, University of Innsbruck, Austria - Disease causing CACNA1D mutations in patients with neuropsychiatric disease
Jeremy Hall, Cardiff University, UK (co-chair) - Translational studies of CACNA1C function​

S20: Sense and sensibility 
Convened by The Physiological Society

Annette Allen, University of Manchester, UK - Colour Vision in Humans  
Claire Gizowski McGill University, Canada - Circadian regulation of thirst 
Michael-John Dolan, Janelia Research Campus, USA - Olfaction in flies​
Chair: Professor Hugh Piggins, University of Manchester, UK

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S21: Mitochondria in neurodegeneration and aging: transport, intracellular interactions and bioenergetic function​
Susan Chalmers, University of Strathclyde, UK (co-chair) - Mitochondrial morphology & motility alterations with age, hyperglycaemia and amyloid​
Ana Cristina Rego, University of Coimbra, Portugal (co-chair) - Mitochondrial deregulation in Huntington's disease - role of SIRT3​
Kurt De Vos, University of Sheffield, UK - Axonal transport defects in neurodegeneration: mitochondria and beyond
Maria Ankaarcrona, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden - ER-mitochondria interplay in Alzheimer's Disease

S22: New directions in epilepsy research
Convened by Epilepsy Research UK

Gabriele Lignani, University College London, UK (co-chair) - Modulating promoter activity to treat intractable genetic and acquired epilepsy​
Sukhvir Wright, Aston University, UK (co-chair) - Autoimmune epilepsy: from symptoms to synapse​
Alfredo Gonzalez-Sulser, University of Edinburgh, UK - GABAergic Medial Septal Neurones and their role in models of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
Andrei Ilie, Oxford University, UK - Phasic and tonic GABAergic signalling combine with membrane potential dynamics to regulate intracellular chloride during seizures

S23: Neuromuscular disorders – cutting edge of translation
Convened by the Association of British Neurologists

Mary Reilly, Association of British Neurologists, UK (co-chair) - Inherited neuropathies: The first treatable neurodegenerative diseases ​
Orla Hardiman, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland - MND – A model neurodegeneration 
Michael Hanna, National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, London, UK (co-chair) - Channelopathies 2019: exciting new phenotypes, mechanisms and therapies:  Where exciting implies excitability ​
Hugh Willison, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK - The sweet side of inflammatory neuropathy 

S24: Impact factor: Concussion and brain health
John Kealy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair) - The neurovascular unit following traumatic brain injury
Niamh Lynch, Bon Secours Hospital, Cork, Ireland (co-chair) - Concussion - A paediatrics perspective​
Ann McKee, Boston University, US - Updates in CTE: 2019
Nicola Marchi, Institut de Génomique Fonctionelle, France - Glial-pericyte inflammation at the damaged blood-brain barrier

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S25: How stress affects endocrine systems and vice-versa: A brain-hormone crosstalk 
Convened by Society for Endocrinology

Francesca Spiga, University of Bristol, UK (co-chair) - How does stress affect the adrenal gland activity 
Karen Chapman, University of Edinburgh, UK.(co-chair) - How does stress affect cardiovascular endocrinology
Marie-Pierre Moisan, University of Bordeaux, France - Influence of circadian rhythms on high fat diet - induced memory alterations
Stefan Reber, University of Ulm, Germany - How does stress affect somatic and affective disorder's? 

S26: The microbiome: A Key regulator of the impact of diet on brain function
Convened by Neuroscience Ireland

John Cryan, University College Cork, Ireland (co-chair) - Dietary targeting of the microbiome for the stressed, and ageing brain​
Carlos Ribiero, Fundação Champalimaud, Portugal - Commensal bacteria control food choice behavior 
Marion Rincel, University Bordeaux, France (co-chair) - Interactions between diet, early-life stress & behaviour: Role of the microbiome & gut barrier function​
Philip Burnet, University of Oxford, UK - Prebiotic effects on brain and behaviour in rodents and humans

S27: Neural stem cells and brain cancer
Convened by the British Neuro-Oncology Society

Simona Parrinello, University College London, UK (co-chair) - The niche in neurogenesis and brain cancer​
Steven Pollard, University of Edinburgh, UK (co-chair) - Transcriptional regulation of neural stem cell self-renewal as a target for glioblastoma​
Richard Gilbertson, University of Cambridge, UK - Developing new models of brain tumours
Lene Uhrbom, Uppsala University, Sweden - Identifying the cell of origin of globlastoma

S28: Let’s stick together - neurodegeneration an expanding disease spectrum
Convened by the Association of British Neurologists

Timothy Lynch, University College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair) - Subtypes of Parkinson's disease and parkinsonism in Ireland​  ​
Jonathan Schott, University College London, UK (co-chair) - Determining the prevalence and causes of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular disease – results from a British Birth Cohort.​
Matthew Jones, University of Manchester, UK - Unravelling FTD – syndromes, proteins, genes and treatments 
Paola Piccini, Imperial College London, UK - Advances in Neuroimaging in PD

S29: Within and beyond the medial temporal lobe: Brain circuits for place and recognition memory
Sponsored by TOCRIS, a Bio-Techne Brand

Tobias Bast, University of Nottingham, UK (co-chair) - Prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens: relevance for the hippocampal learning-behaviour translation and for the cognitive impact of hippocampal dysfunction 
Lisa Genzel, Donders Institute, The Netherlands - Hippocampal-prefrontal cortex interactions in sleep for memory consolidation: from rats to humans 
Lisa Kinnavane, University of Bristol, UK (co-chair) - Mapping anatomically verified activity patterns for recognition memory processing within and beyond the medial temporal lobe​
James Ainge, University of St Andrews, UK - Hippocampal-entorhinal circuits underlying associative recognition memory 

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S30: Vestibular cognition
Convened by the Experimental Psychology Society

David Wilkinson, University of Kent, UK (co-chair) - Vestibular Stimulation: an adjuvant therapy for cognitive and psychiatric impairment? ​
Elisa Ferre, University of London, UK (co-chair) - Vestibular contribution to human perception and cognition ​
Peter zu Eulenburg, Ludwig-Maximilans-Universitat, Germany - The human vestibular cortex 
Bigna Lenggenhager, University of Zurich, Switzerland - The plastic self: how vestibular signals influence the sense of self and embodied cognition 

S31: Sleep and the neuroendocrine system
Convened by the British Society for Neuroendocrinology

Henrik Oster, University of Lubeck, Germany - Animal models of sleep, and neuroendocrine physiology 
Nayantara Santhi Melatonin, University of Surrey, UK - Human sleep, and neuroendocrine physiology 
Eve Van Cauter, University of Chicago, US (co-chair) - Sleep, Hormones and Metabolism​
Co-chair: John Johnston, University of Surrey, UK

S32: Advances in Child Neurology 2019 
Convened by the British Paediatric Neurology Association
Anne Marie Childs, Leeds General Infirmary, UK - SMA and DMD: what is best practice care?   
Katharina Vezyroglou, UCL-Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, UK - ATP1A3 related disease through the ages  
Ming Lim, Evelina Childrens Hospital, London, UK (co-chair) - Autoimmune neurological disease in childhood​
Helen Cross, UCL-Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, UK (co-chair) - New ways forward in childhood 

S33: New molecular approaches for understanding synapses, circuits, and behaviour
Yvonne Jones, University of Oxford, UK - Semaphorin-plexin complexes, signalling and synapses - a structure-function perspective 
Marco Tripodi, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, UK - Using self-inactivating, trans-synaptic rabies virus to map and manipulate neural circuits 
Jonny Kohl, University College London, UK - Functional Circuit Architecture Underlying Parental Behaviour  
Bill Wisden, Imperial College London, UK - Molecular neurobiology of sleep circuits ​
Chair: Mick Hastings, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, UK.

S34: Vascular Neurology 
Convened by the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience
Keith Muir, University of Glasgow, UK - Neuroimaging techniques  to optimise selection of acute ischaemic stroke patients for IV thrombolysis or mechanical thrombectomy
Dominick McCabe, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair) - Update on translational platelet science / haemostasis in ischaemic cerebrovascular disease​
Aine Merwick, Beaumont Hospital, Ireland - Optimising risk-stratification to guide management following a transient ischaemic attack
Alex Leff, UCL, UK (co-chair) - Novel approaches to rehabilitation following stroke

S35: Educational neuroscience research into neurocognitive predictors of academic outcome
Convened by the British Psychological Society

Bert De Smedt, University of Leuven, Belgium (co-chair) - Symbolic numerical processing is a key predictor of learning arithmetic ​
Miriam Rosenberg-Lee, Rutgers University, US - Brain network interactions supporting inhibitory control during rational number processing 
Iroise Dumontheil, University of London, UK (co-chair) - Inhibitory control and science and maths reasoning ​
Grégoire Borst, University Paris Descartes, France - Sulcal morphology of the brain as an early cerebral constraint on future academic learning 

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SUNDAY 14TH APRIL: 16.20 - 18.00
W1: Big Data: Management, modelling & collaboration
Madeleine Lowery, University College Dublin, Ireland (chair) - Modelling big data, an inter-disciplinary approach​
Clare Gillan, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland - Big Data: techniques and collaboration for psychiatric health 
John Terry, University of Exeter, UK - Computational Biology
Damien Coyle, Ulster University, UK - Neurotechnology and Brain-Computer Interfaces
Sara Pulit, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands - Computational biology applications in large-scale omics data: examples from obesity genetics

MONDAY 15TH APRIL: 09.30 - 11.10
W2: President's session: Safeguarding credibility and reproducibility in neuroscience
Marcus Munafo, University of Bristol, UK (chair) - Scientific Ecosystems and Research Reproducibility​
Pia Rotshtein, University of Birmingham, UK - How study pre-registration can benefit neuroscience
Emily Sena, University of Edinburgh, UK - 
Verena Heise, University of Oxford, UK - An ECR'S guide to changing research culture 

MONDAY 15TH APRIL: 15.30 - 17.10
W3: How a journal handles your paper 
J. Paul Bolam, University of Oxford, UK (chair) - Ethical issues around scientific publishing
Juan Lerma, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Spain - What happens to your paper once submitted to a journal
Jeff Dalley, University of Cambridge, UK - The peer-review process and what we expect reviewers to do
Marina Picciotto, Yale University School of Medicine, US - What we expect in a good paper
John Foxe, University of Rochester, US - Reproducibility

TUESDAY 16TH APRIL: 09.30 - 11.10
W4: Workshop by and for Early Career Researchers (awaiting final details)

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Special Sessions: 

SUNDAY 14TH APRIL: 13.00 - 14.40
SsA: Rapid-fire poster talks
30 submitted poster abstracts will be selected to give talks of just 3 minutes and 2 slides each.  Get a taste of the whole Festival in just one session! 

SsB: The BSN Alison Douglas Lecture 
Convened by the British Society for Neuroendocrinology
Dr Jane Robinson, University of Glasgow 

SsC: Early Career Researcher Prizewinners' session
Nitzan Censor, Tel-Aviv University, Israel - The Sieratzki UK-Israel Prize for Advances in Neuroscience prize: ECR category
Ella Striem-Amit, Harvard University, Cambridge (MA), USA - The Sieratzki UK-Israel Prize for Advances in Neuroscience prize: Young Researcher's category
Kathy Ruddy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland - NSI Early Career Investigator award winner 
Guiseppe D’Agostino, University of Aberdeen, UK - The BSN Mick Harbuz prize winner

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