Programme by topic

BNA2021 symposia grouped by topic

Please see below for the symposia at BNA2021 Festival of Neuroscience, grouped according to topic.

There are twelve topics running through the scientific programme at BNA2021. These ensure that the full range of neurocience interests are represented at the Festival.  See other sections of the website for workshops, special sessions and plenaries in each topic.  

Please note that this information is subject to change as more speakers are confirmed. Please do check back for updates. 

  1. Ageing and dementia
  2. Circuit dynamics and oscillations
  3. Cognition and behaviour
  4. Computational and theoretical neuroscience
  5. Disorders, treatments and translational neuroscience
  6. Internal states and homeostasis
  7. Methods and technology development
  8. Neurodevelopment and stem cells
  9. Neurons and glia: intrinsic properties, cell biology and cell types
  10. Psychiatry and mental health
  11. Sensory and motor systems
  12. Synapses and plasticity

1. Ageing and dementia

Sleep and circadian rhythms in dementia research​​​ - this session is convened and supported by the UK Dementia Research Institute 
Derk-Jan Dijk (co-chair), UK Dementia Research Institute Care Research and Technology and Surrey Sleep Research Centre, UK - Why and how to target sleep and circadian rhythms in dementia
Erik Musiek,The Hope Center, Washington University in St. Louis, USA - Circadian clock genes in neurodegenerative diseases​
Raphaelle Winsky-Sommerer (co-chair), University of Surrey, UK - Targeting sleep in mouse models of dementia​
Berta Anuncibay-Soto, UK Dementia Research Institute at imperial College London, UK - Does insomnia enhance onset of dementia? Novel mouse models of insomnia​

Non-neuronal cells in neurological disease​​ - this session is convened and supported by the UK Dementia Research Institute 
Soyon Hong, UK Dementia Research Institute, non-speaking co-chair
Blanca Diaz-Castro (co-chair), UK Dementia Research Institute at University of Edinburgh, UK - Astrocytes in the interface of brain and periphery​
Cagla Eroglu, Duke University School of Medicine, USA - talk title TBC
Christer Betsholtz, Karolinska Institute and Dept of Immunology, Sweden - Single-cell analysis of neurovascular biology reveals novel cell types and their roles​
Sebastiaan De Schepper, UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL, UK - Microglia-Synapse Interaction in Alzheimer's Disease

Dementia, sports & traumatic brain injury​​ - this session is convened and supported by the UK Dementia Research Institute 
David Sharp (co-chair), UK Dementia Research Institute Care Research & Technology at Imperial College London, UK - What is the link between TBI and neurodegenerative disorders?​
William Stewart, Institute of Neuroscience, University of Glasgow, UK - Do sports increase the risk of dementia?
Elisa Zanier (co-chair), Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Milan, Italy - Transmissable Tau pathology induced by TBI​
Neil Graham, UK Dementia Research Institute Care Research & Technology at Imperial College London, UK, Diffuse axonal injury as a trigger for progressive neurodegeneration​

Brain resilience to pathology​ - this session is convened and supported by the UK Dementia Research Institute 
Tara Spires-Jones, UK DRI at University of Edinburgh, UK - non-speaking co-chair
Karen Duff, UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL, UK - Mechanisms of vulnerability to pathology in Alzheimer's disease​​
David A.Bennett (co-chair), Rush University, Chicago, USA - talk title TBC
Carol Brayne, Cambridge University, UK - talk title TBC
Declan King (co-chair), UK Dementia Research Institute at University of Edinburgh, UK - Synaptic resilience in Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 participants is associated with maintained cognition during ageing​

Neurovascular coupling in health and disease​
Clare Howarth (co-chair), University of Sheffield, UK - Role of inhibitory interneurons in control of cerebral blood flow​
Catherine Hall (co-chair), University of Sussex, UK - Differences in neurovascular coupling between the hippocampus and neocortex may underlie susceptibility to degeneration
David Attwell, University College London, UK - Control of cerebral blood flow by pericytes in stroke and Alzheimer's disease​
Joshua Shrouder, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany - Cortical pericytes are more resistant to experimental stroke than neurons and start proliferating after reperfusion​


2.  Circuit dynamics and oscillations


3. Cognition and behaviour

The Cognitive Thalamus​
Anna Mitchell (non-speaking co-chair), Oxford University, UK 
Andrew Nelson, Cardiff University, UK - Anterior thalamic - cingulate cortex interactions and attention​
Emmanuelle Courtiol, Université Claude Bernard Lyon, France - Thalamic contributions to olfactory processing​
Mathieu Wolff, University of Bordeaux, France -Thalamocortical circuits for learning in dynamic environments
Brook Perry (co-chair), Oxford University, UK- Investigating primate mediodorsal thalamic neurons during reward guided learning and decision-making

From Human Connectomics to Cognition​ - this session is convened and supported by the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience
Diego Vidaurre (co-chair), University of Aarhus, Denmark - Characterising brain network dynamics in rest and task
Jonathan Smallwood (co-chair), University of York, UK - Neurocognitive hierarchies as a state space for on-going thought​
Joana Cabral, Champalimaud Center for the Unknown, Portugal - Patho-connectomics: how disrupted functional networks lead to psychiatric disorders​
Romy Lorenz, University of Cambridge, UK - Neuroadaptive technology for cognitive neuroscientists​
Jamie Ward (non speaking co-chair), University of Sussex, UK

Memory modulation in the context of fear and novelty​ - this session is convened and supported by the European Brain and Behaviour Society
Harmen Krugers (co-chair), SILS-CNS, Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Glucocorticoid modulation of synapses, ensembles and fear
DorothyTse (co-chair), The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK - Optogenetic Locus Coeruleus activation of tyrosine-hydroxylase-expressing neurons enhances everyday memory in rats
Regina Sullivan, New York University, New York, USA - Neurobehavioral transitions in fear learning and social blockade?​
Tomas Ryan, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland - Forgetting as a form of learning​

Dynamics of decision-making and metacognition​​ - this session is convened and supported by the Experimental Psychology Society
Lucie Charles (co-chair), UK - talk title TBC
Brian Maniscalco, University of California, USA - talk title TBC
Annika Boldt (co-chair), University College London, London, UK - talk title TBC
Christopher Fetsch, John Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA - talk title TBC

Building a flexible prefrontal cortex​​
Matt Jones, University of Bristol, UK - non-speaking co-chair
Paul Anastasiades, University of Bristol, UK - Prefrontal thalamocortical connectivity: cracking the circuitry of cognition
Abhishek Banerjee (co-chair), Newcastle University, UK - Cognitive switches and value-guided remapping in cortical circuits
Silvia Maggi, University of Nottingham, UK - Adaptive behaviour: coding of past and present events in prefrontal cortex during learning
Angela Roberts (co-chair), University of Cambridge, UK - Functional heterogeneity in primate ventromedial prefrontal cortex and its relevance to anxiety, anhedonia and cardiovascular dysfunction

Embodied brains: Clinical implications of the neural basis of self ​
Sarah Garfinkel (co-chair), Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK - Heart-brain interactions in first episode psychosis
Manos Tsakiris (co-chair), Royal Holloway University of London, UK - Taking the pulse of social cognition : interoception, self-awareness and alteroception​
Alex Galvez-Pol, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Mallorca, Spain - Revealing others' bodies in one's brain: an ERP method to examine sensorimotor activity during visual processing of body - related information
Katerina Fotopoulou (co-chair), UCL, UK - Metabody: Updating belies about the interoceptive and exteroceptive body in anorexia nervosa​

Neural circuits for flexible behaviour​
John Duncan, Cambridge University, UK - talk title TBC 
Athena Akrami (co-chair), University College London, UK - talk title TBC 
Adil Khan (co-chair) King's College London, UK - talk title TBC
Katharina Wilmes, Imperial College London, UK - talk title TBC


4. Computational and theoretical neuroscience

Interfaces between Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence​
Claudia Clopath, Imperial College London, UK - talk title TBC 
Thomas Nowotny, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK - talk title TBC 
Irina Higgins (co-chair), Google DeepMind, London, UK - talk title TBC
Asaph Zylbertal, University College London, UK - talk title TBC

Perception, planning and control in an uncertain world
Maneesh Sahani, (Co-Chair) The Gatsby Unit, University College London, UK
Peggy Series, (Co-Chair) University of Edinburgh, UK
Eszter Vertes, DeepMind, UK
Daniel Wolpert, Columbia University, US


5. Disorders, treatments and translational neuroscience

Innovations in research from Epilepsy Research UK​ - this session is convened and supported by the Epilepsy Research UK
Ashan Jayasekera (co-chair), Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK - Glutamate in Glioma Related Seizures
Vincent Magloire,  University College London, UK - Neurogliaform interneurons: a promising inhibitory target to stop focal and generalised seizures​
Amol Bhandare, University of Warwick, UK - Imaging seizure-induced cardiorespiratory neuronal dysfunction in freely behaving mice

Targeting ion channels in disease​ - this session is convened and supported by the The Physiological Society
Gary Stephens, University of Reading, UK - non-speaking co-chair
Gerald Obermair, University of Krems, Austria - non-speaking co-chair
Thomas Voets, VIB Center for Brain and Disease Research, Leuven, Belgium - Targeting TRP channels in disease​
Cornelia Ablinger, University of Innsbruck, Austria - Calcium channel modulation by alpha2delta subunits
Edward Stevens, (Metrion Biosciences) UK - Ion channels as drug targets: an industry perspective ​
Charlotte Day, University of Reading UK - Targeting ionotropic glutamate receptors with auto-antibodies  

The neuroscience of cannabinoids: Clinical and molecular insights 
Tom Freeman, University of Bath, UK - Non-psychotropic cannabinoids in medicinal use - from neuroscience to psychiatry
Aikaterini Vezyroglou (co-chair), UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, UK - Insights to Cannabinoids efficacy in the treatment of epilepsies
Melissa Barker-Haliski, University of Washington, USA - Preclinical evidence for the efficacy of cannabidiol in epilepsy treatment​
Robin SB Williams (co-chair), Royal Holloway University of London, UK - New Insights to mechanisms of action of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids in the treatment of neurological disorders ​

Social neuropeptides: central oxytocin and vasopressin pathways and translational implications​ - this session is convened and supported by the British Association for Psychopharmacology
Valery Grinevich (co-chair), Central Institute for Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany - The central oxytocin and vasopressin systems: diversity of cell types, their targets and behavioural effects​
Bice Chini, CNR Neuroscience Institute, Milan, Italy - Neuropeptide signalling in the brain: advances and new pharmacological tools​
Francoise Muscatelli, Institut de Neurobiologie de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France- Oxytocin signalling in early life and the development of autistic spectrum disorders​
Daniel Martins, King's College London, UK - From the nose to the brain? Central target engagement varies with method of administration and dose in human​ ​
Yannis Paloyelis, King's College London, UK - non-speaking co-chair

The use of neuro-technology the clinical assessment and treatment of Parkinson's​​ - this session is convened and supported by Parkinson's UK
Michelle Hu (co-chair), Oxford University, UK - Use of wearable technology in the assessment of Parkinson’s​
Alison Yarnall, Newcastle University, UK - Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Improving Neural control of Gait in Parkinson’s Disease (AdVaNSING-PD)​
David Wilkinson (co-chair), University of Kent, UK - Advances in the use of vestibular stimulation to treat Parkinson’s​
Emma Lawton, Parkinson's UK, UK - A novel working partnership to overcome the challenges of treating tremor – Emma’s Watch​​ ​

Protein aggregation in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease: from mechanisms to targets for therapies
George Tofaris (co-chair), Oxford University, UK - Modelling and targeting alpha-synuclein aggregation in iPSC-derived neurons ​
Ronald Melki, CNRS Fontenay-aux-Roses, France - Structural studies of alpha-synuclein assemblies and their implication for understanding neurodegeneration
Suchira Bose (co-chair), Eli Lilly and Company, UK - Drug discovery approaches to protein aggregation in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease​
William McEwan, UK Dementia Research Institute at Cambridge, UK - Cell-intrinsic immune responses limit prion-like protein aggregation​


6. Internal states and homeostasis

Multiscale dynamics in the CNS​ - this session is convened and supported by the British Society for Neuroendocrinology
Stafford Lightman, University of Bristol, UK - non-speaking co-chair
John Terry, University of Birmingham, UK - non-speaking co-chair 
Deyana Ivanova, KCL, UK - talk title TBC
Georgina Russell, University of Bristol, UK - The importance of cortisol pulsatility in humans
Eder Zavala, University of Birmingham, UK - Mathematical modelling of dynamic variations in physiological outputs in human
Ben Gunn, UC Irvine, USA - Circuits and epilepsy

Untangling the complexity of neurological disorders: RNA metabolism and modulation​​ - this session is convened and supported by Neuroscience Ireland
Eva Jimenez-Mateos (co-chair), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland - MicroRNAs modulation in ageing: From infants to the elderly
Gary Brennan, University College Dublin, Ireland- The contribution of RNA methylation (m6A) to transcriptional dysregulation in epilepsy​
Sara Pico, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain - Aberrant mRNA polyadenylation in Huntington's disease
Tobias Engel (co-chair), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin ,Ireland - mRNA polyadenylation as a new player in the development of epilepsy​

Brain energy sensing, adaptations and alterations to network outputs​​ - this session is convened and supported by the Society for Endocrinology
Craig Beall (co-chair), University of Exeter, UK - Glial cells in metabolic control​
Linford Briant, University of Oxford, UK - Hindbrain control of glucagon secretion
Alison McNeilly (co-chair), University of Dundee, UK - Neural control of glucose homeostasis​
Cristina García Cáceres, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Munich, Germany - Hormonal control of neuorotransmitters and energy metabolism​


7. Methods and technology development

In vivo imaging of neuroinflammation: advances and challenges​​ 
Neil Harrison (co-chair), University of Cardiff, UK - Inflammation and the brain: mechanisms and implications for CNS disorders​
Christine Parker, GSK, London, UK - PET imaging of inflammation​
Raquel Garcia Hernandez, Instituto de Neurociencias, Alicante, Spain - talk title TBC
Geoffrey Parker, UCL, UK - Quantitative imaging of blood brain barrier permeability​

From stem cells to whole animals: the scope and appraisal of research models in vitro and in vivo - this session is convened and supported by the Biochemical Society
Madeline Lancaster, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK - Using brain organoids to reveal mechanisms of human brain size determination​
Selina Wray (co-chair), University College London, UK - Stem cells, organoids and Alzheimer's disease
Tilo Kunath, University of Edinburgh, UK- Using pluripotent stem cells to model and treat Parkinson's disease
Tom Cunningham, MRC Harwell Institute, Oxfordshire, UK - Using genomically humanised mice to understand human neurodegenerative disorders
Clare Stanford (co-chair), University College London, UK - What can (and cannot) be learned from animal behavioural models of complex human neuronal disorders?

AI and Machine Learning in Neuroimaging: Challenges, Opportunities and Pitfalls​ - this session is convened and supported by the British Neuro-Oncology Society
Matthew Grech-Sollars (co-chair), Imperial College London, UK - talk title TBC
Co-chair, TBC
Thomas Booth, KCL, UK - talk title TBC
Esther Bron, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - talk title TBC


8. Neurodevelopment and stem cells

Gene Regulatory Mechanisms underlying Neural Fate Decisions
Vijay Tiwari, Queen's University Belfast - Non-speaking co-chair
Francois Guillemot The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK - Regulation of the transition from developmental to adult neurogenesis
Federico Calegari, Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Dresden, Germany - Giving more neurons to the brain, from the womb to the grave
Victor Borrell, Instituto de Neurociencias, Alicante, Spain - Regulation of brain evolution by microRNAs
Setsuko Sahara, Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King's College London, UK - Post-translational modification controls generating cortical progenitor diversity

Adding new cells to old circuits: lessons from adult neurogenesis in the olfactory system​
Fiona Doetsch, University of Basel, Switzerland - Diversity and Regulation of Adult Neural Stem Cells​
Claire Cheetham (co-chair), University of Pittsburgh, USA - Functional regeneration of adult olfactory bulb circuits after olfactory sensory neuron ablation ​ 
Mariana Alonso, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France - Distinct granule cell populations are uniquely engaged in odor learning
Candida Tufo, King's College London, UK - Plasticity in adult-born olfactory bulb dopaminergic neurons

Adverse prenatal exposure and brain development: cognitive behaviour and neurological diseases​
Susannede Rooij, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Prenatal exposure to undernutrition and cognitive and brain aging: the Dutch famine birth cohort study​
Erik Mire (co-chair), Cardiff University, UK - Developmental programming of cortical circuits by maternal diet​
Harry Potter, University of Manchester, UK - The role of the pre- and postnatal maternal environments on offspring cognition in a maternal immune activation model of schizophrenia​
Sandrine Willaime-Morawek (co-chair), University of Southampton, UK - Prenatal diet effects on behaviour and brain phenotype in a mouse model​

Advances in modelling Developmental Disorders​
Laura Andreae, KCL, UK- Synapse development, function and plasticity in models for neurodevelopmental disorders​
Peter Kind (co-chair), University of Edinburgh, UK - Convergence and divergence of monogenic forms of ASD/ID - from cells to behaviour​
Hannah Hornberg, University of Basel, Switzerland - Molecular mechanisms regulating social behaviour​
Claudia Bagni, University of Lausanne, Switzerland - Molecular mechanisms of social competence​

Protein spread and seeding in neurodegenerative diseases​​ - this session is convened and supported by the British Neuropathological Society
Luc Buee, University Lille, Inserm, France - Tau pathology seeding and spreading​
Veerle Baekelandt, Department of Neurosciences, Leuven, Belgium - Alpha-synuclein pathology seeding and spreading​
Sebastian Brandner, UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK- Prion pathology seeding and spreading​
Zane Jaunmuktane, University College London, Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences, London, UK - Amyloid-beta pathology transmission


9. Neurons and glia: intrinsic properties, cell biology and cell types


10. Psychiatry and mental health

Ketamine as a treatment for depression and alcohol use disorders​
Emma Robinson (co-chair), University of Bristol, UK- Effects of ketamine in rodents: reward and depression
Celia Morgan (co-chair), University of Exeter, UK - Preventing relapse in alcoholism with ketamine?​
Ravi Das, UCL, UK - Maladaptive memory rewriting as a therapeutic mechanism for NMDA receptor antagonists
Vasileia Kotoula (co-chair), IOPPN, London, UK- Ketamine modulates subcortical brain activity during the feedback phase of the monetary incentive delay task​

The Psychological Impact of Poverty​ - this session is convened and supported by the British Psychological Society
Michael Thomas (co-chair), Birkbeck, University of London, UK- Neurocognitive approaches to addressing the effects of poverty on education​
Sebastian Lipina (co-chair), CEMIC-CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina - Updates in the neuroscientific studies on childhood poverty​
Philip Murphy, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK - Understanding the relationship between addiction and poverty in combating disadvantage in society​
Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington, London School of Economics, UK- Understanding the impact of poverty on decision-making processes
Sophie Wickham, University of Liverpool, UK - non-speaking co-chair

The potential for deep brain stimulation in neuropsychiatry: mechanistic biomarkers and treatment - this session is jointly convened and supported by the British Neuropsychiatry Association and the Société des Neurosciences.
Eric Burgiere, Brain and Spine Institute (ICM) in Paris, France 
Christelle Baunez, Aix-Marseille University, France
Valerie Voon, University of Cambridge
Peter Brown, University of Oxford


11. Sensory and motor systems

Advances in studying the dynamics of human motor plasticity​​ 
Matthew Brookes, University of Nottingham, UK- Developing new solutions for studying brain dynamics during movement​
Catharina Zich, University College London, UK - Neural dynamics of human motor learning​
Holly Rossiter (co-chair), University of Cardiff, UK - Changes in cortical dyanmics during recovery after stroke​
Charlotte Stagg (co-chair), University of Oxford, UK- Developing neurophysiologically-informed neuromodulation for motor learning and recovery​

Neural Circuits for Pain​
David I Hughes (co-chair), University of Glasgow, UK- Defining a spinal microcircuit that gates myelinated afferent input: implications for tactile allodynia.​
Carole Torsney (co-chair), University of Edinburgh, UK - Sex- and injury-dependent regulation of spinal nociceptive drive​
Kirsty Bannister, KCL, UK- The anatomy and functionality of descending modulatory pathways in health and disease​
Liam Peck, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK - Contributions of Kcna6-expressing primary sensory neurons to acute and chronic pain sensation

The body schema in action, development and disease
Dorothy Cowie, Durham University, UK- The body schema during development​
Arran Reader, University of Stirling, UK - Hand posture in motion: imitation and body ownership
Elisabeth Rounis (co-chair), University of Oxford, Oxford, UK - The role of body schema in apraxia​
Kenneth Valyear (co-chair), University of Bangor, UK- Grasping with a new hand: Functional MRI and motion capture investigations of grasping in former hand amputees​

Affect and pain - the yin and yang of modular locus coeruleus function​
Jordan McCall (co-chair), Washington University in St. Louis, USA - Stress-induced plasticity in noradrenergic analgesia​
Anthony Pickering (co-chair), University of Bristol, UK - Relevance of locus coeruleus modules to human pain perception​
Esther Berrocoso, University of Cadiz, Spain - Role of locus coeruleus in pain-induced anxiodepressive disorders
Amalia Floriou-Servou, ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich), Switzerland- The locus coeruleus and the stress response​


12. Synapses and plasticity

Synaptic trafficking
Annette Dolphin, UCL, UK - non-speaking co-chair
Alison Twelvetrees, Sheffield University, UK - Understanding kinesin powered axonal transport, one step at a time​
Kristen Harris, University of Texas, USA - Impact of local presynaptic and postsynaptic resources on synapse clustering​
Yishi Jin, University of California, USA -  Cytoskeleton dynamics in synapse maintenance​
Jing Ren, University of Cambridge, UK - Functional Organization of the Midbrain
Serotonin System​

Fundamental mechanisms of learning and memory revealed by model invertebrate systems​
Ildiko Kemenes (co-chair) University of Sussex, UK - Cellular mechanisms of memory interference and generalization in Lymnaea​
Martin Giurfa (co-chair), University Paul Sabatier,Toulouse, France - New insights into the formation of protein-synthesis dependent memories after single-trial appetitive conditioning in the honeybee​
Catharine Rankin, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - The unfolding complexity of habituation, the simplest form of learning​
Annekathrin Widmann, University of Göttingen, Germany -  Insulin signaling and memory formation in Drosophila​


Other (teaching, history, outreach etc)