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We are pleased to announce our keynote speakers for MNS2021, June 2021 in Dubrovnik, Croatia!

 Tracy Bale, Baltimore, MD, USA - IBRO Presidential Lecture

Tracy L. Bale is a Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Center for Epigenetic Research in Child Health and Brain Development in the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Washington in the Department of Pharmacology, and her postdoctoral work at the Salk Institute with Dr. Wylie Vale. Dr. Bale was Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania for 15 years prior to her move to UMB. Her research focuses on understanding the role of stress dysregulation in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases, and the sex differences that underlie disease vulnerability using mice as the model organism. She is interested in developing models of parental stress and the germ cell involvement in transgenerational epigenetic programming of neurodevelopment. She serves on many internal and external advisory committees, panels, and boards and served as Chair of the NNRS CSR study section and was a Reviewing Editor at the Journal of Neuroscience for the last 6 years. She has been the recipient of several awards for her research in this area including the career development award for early career achievement and promise by the Society for Neuroscience, the Richard E. Weitzman Memorial award as exceptionally promising young investigator award by the Endocrine Society, the Medtronic Award from the Society for Women’s Health Research for outstanding research that has led to the improvement of women’s health, and recently the Daniel H. Efron award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. She was recently elected President of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO).

Gina Turrigiano, Waltham, MA, USA - SfN Presidential Lecture

Gina Turrigiano is a professor in the Dept of Biology, the Volen Center for Complex Systems, and the Center for Behavioral Genomics at Brandeis University. She is a neuroscientist recognized for her pioneering work on homeostatic plasticity mechanisms that help to stabilize the function of neural circuits. She grew up in Northern California, received her BA from Reed College in 1984, and her PhD from University of California San Diego in 1990. She then trained as a postdoc with Eve Marder at Brandeis University before joining the faculty in 1994. She has received numerous awards for her research including a MacArthur foundation fellowship, McKnight Foundation Technological Innovation and Neurobiology of Disease awards, an NIH director's pioneer award, the HFSP Nakasone Award, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her scientific interests include mechanisms of synaptic and intrinsic plasticity and the experience-dependent refinement of neocortical microcircuitry.
She studies the experience-dependent development of neocortex, with a focus on the cellular plasticity mechanisms that allow the refinement of neocortical microcircuitry during critical periods of development. In particular, her work has uncovered a family of homeostatic plasticity mechanisms that work together to maintain the integrity of neural circuits during periods of intense synaptic rearrangments, such as occur during development and learning. Her lab employs a variety of approaches to tackle these problems, including electrophysiology, imaging, and optogenetics, using both in vitro and in vivo preparations of the rodent visual cortex.
She is the President- Elect of the American Society for Neuroscience (SfN).

Jean-Antoine Girault, Paris, FR - FENS Presidential Lecture

Jean-Antoine Girault, MD, PhD, holds an Inserm research director position. He is currently head of the Institut du Fer à Moulin, an Inserm-UPMC center of research, with about ten teams working on the development and plasticity of the nervous system. His research is mainly on the signalling mechanisms involved in the plasticity of the nervous system, in normal and pathological conditions. The fields of application concern drug addiction and Parkinson disease, as well as axoglial interactions in myelinated fibers. The approaches used include molecular and cellular biology, functional neuroanatomy, and behavioural studies, etc. Member of various professional committees and the French and American societies for Neurosciences, Jean-Antoine Girault has actively participated in the creation of the Neuropôle de recherche francilien (NeRF). Very involved in teaching and training of young researchers and doctors, he has been the director of the Paris School of Neuroscience (ENP) between 2007 and 2009.
He is the President- Elect of the European Society for Neuroscience (FENS).

Ira Milosevic, Göttingen, DE - Croatian Society for Neuroscience invited Speaker

Ira Milosevic graduated from the University of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia) in 2001, and did her PhD with Erwin Neher and Reinhard Jahn at Max the Planck Institute (Göttingen, Germany) on the cell biology of chromaffin cells1 . Subsequently, she worked on the role of endophilins in endocytosis2 and also contributed to ER-plasma membrane t ethering principles3 as a postdoc with Pietro DeCamilli at Yale University (New Haven CT, USA). In 2013, Ira was awarded the Emmy Noether Young Investigator Award from the German Research Council to establish an independent group at the ENI in Göttingen that focuses on the molecular underpinnings of synaptic function. Her group works on fundamental aspects of synaptic vesicle recycling related to neurological and neurodegenerative diseases using genomic, imaging and cell biological approaches. She is the invited as Speaker Croatian Society for Neuroscience invited Speaker.

Giacomo Rizzolatti, Parma, IT - MNS Emeritus Member Lecture

Giacomo Rizzolatti is Professor of Human Physiology at the Universitàdeglistudi di Parma, where he is the Director of the Department of Neurosciences.  Formerly President of the European Brain Behavior Society and the Italian Society for Neuroscience,  as well  as  member  of  the  European  Medical  Research  Council, Professor Rizzolatti has, for several years, directed the European Training Program in Brain and Behaviour Research (ETP) sponsored by the European Science Foundation. He is member of Academia Europaea and of Accademia deiLincei as well as Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He was recently elected Associéétranger of the Institut de France’s Académie des Sciences. Among Professor Rizzolatti’s major awards are the Golgi Prize for Physiology, the George Miller Award of the CognitiveNeuroscience Society, the Accademia deiLincei’s Feltrinelli Prize for Medicine and the Herlitzka Prize for Physiology awarded by the Accademia delleScienze di Torino. Since the early eighties, Professor Rizzolatti has been recording the activity of nerve cells in the brain specialised for the control of hand actions such as grabbing objects or picking items up. In 1996, this resulted in the discovery of "Mirror Neurons" that is neurons which fire or become active both when one performs such hand actions aswell as when one observes them in another. Some scientists consider “Mirror Neurons” as one of the most important findings in the last decade. Their potential importance lies with the fact that they may be the basis through which we are able to understand the intentions of others, acquire language and share feelings. For his continuous support to neuroscience in the Mediterranean regions will be awarded the MNS Emeritus Membership during the MNS2021.

Laszlo Zaborszky, Newark, NJ, USA

Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University (NJ, USA), founding Editor-in–Chief, Brain Structure and Function. Author of over 115 scientific papers, book chapters and a monograph. His research, supported by the NIH since 1986, has profound implications in the field of neural basis of attention, cognition as well as for such diseases as Alzheimer’s.  Editor: Neuroanatomical Tract–Tracing Methods 2-3 (1989 Plenum; 2006 Springer). President, New York Hungarian Scientific Society (2012-2016), President, Association of American Hungarian Academicians (2018-2020), Foreign Member, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2007-). Board of Trustees Award for Research Excellence (President, Rutgers University, 2016), Knight Cross, Order of Merit (President of Hungary, 2013).

George Paxinos, UNSW, Sidney, AU

Scientia Professor George Paxinos studied psychology at The University of California at Berkeley, McGill University and Yale University before taking up a lectureship at The University of New South Wales, in Sydney. He is now an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow at Neuroscience Research Australia and Scientia Professor at The University of New South Wales.
He identified 91 hitherto unknown regions in the brain of rats and humans and has published 57 books on the brain and spinal cord of humans and experimental animals and a novel that deals with environmental degradation. Most scientists working on the relationship between brain and emotion, motivation and thought, including neurologic or psychiatric diseases, or animal models of these diseases, use Paxinos’ atlases and concepts of brain organization. His first book, The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates, is the most cited work in neuroscience. His Atlas of the Human Brain received the American Association of Publishers Award for Excellence in Publishing in Medical Science and the British Medical Association Illustrated Book Award. He received the Alexander von Humboldt Award and holds three honorary doctorates. In 2019 he was made a distinguished fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales.
He served as president of the Australian Neuroscience Society and of the IBRO World Congress of Neuroscience.

Sherif El-Khamisy, Sheffield, UK

Sherif El-Khamisy is a pharmacist by training, a Wellcome Trust Investigator and a Lister Institute Fellow at the University of Sheffield. Sherif's lab uses a combination of biochemical, genetic and whole animal approaches to study how cells maintain genomic integrity in health and disease. His early work revealed the importance of repairing chromosomal single-strand breaks to maintain neurological function. More recently, the lab identified new players and mechanisms for repairing oxidative and protein-linked chromosomal breaks and uncovered their connection to human disorders such as ataxia, dementia and ALS.


Call for contributed symposia – MNS 2021

The 8th Mediterranean Neuroscience conference that will be held in Dubrovnik (Croatia, 13-17 June 2021) is now accepting submissions for proposed symposia. A typical symposium gathers 4-5 speakers, each addressing the general topic from a different perspective. Total allocated time is 2 hours per proposed symposium (linked symposia could be proposed, but their joint acceptance is not guaranteed, given our aim to increase thematic diversity). Symposia dealing with all areas of neuroscience research are warmly invited, including, in particular, neuroscience topics which have not been traditionally covered in the past editions.

The requirement to submit a proposal is active MNS membership for the current year

Online submission for symposium proposals opens on March 31st, 2020.
The MNS strives to strengthen exchanges between Mediterranean neuroscientists, promote education in the neurosciences and increase public awareness of progress made. The participation of scientists from the South countries, whether as organizers of symposia or as speakers, is, therefore, highly encouraged. The gender ratio within each proposal will also be taken into account to reach a decision.

The MNS and its partners will provide a limited number of stipends for qualified young candidates (guidelines to be released soon). However, the symposium proponents are invited to seek funding for travel, accommodation and conference registration of the invited participants (MNS only offers the logistic support at the meeting venue).

Title of the symposiumName(s) and address(s) of the organizer(s)General abstract of the symposium describing the aims of the symposium (no more than 500 words)Name, address and title of the presentation of each speaker (no abstracts are requested at this stage).Opportunity to edit a Research Topic article collection with Frontiers on the subject of the Symposium, with $1000 support from Frontiers if selected.
MNS portrait #1 - Christina Dalla
“Voices of women in neuroscience”

Christina Dalla, PhD
Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Vice-President of the Mediterranean Neuroscience Society
Past-president of the Hellenic Society for Neurosciences

Women in my family have always been resilient, successful, living their lives to the fullest. My maternal grandmother came to Athens as a war refugee fromConstantinople (today Istanbul) in 1919 – after having been separated from her parents.She had a full life and died at the age of 96 having supported her daughter to study Law and follow an academic career in bioethics. She also helped to raise her grandchildren, my two sisters and myself, thus allowing her daughter to lead a successful academic career. I remember my grandmother always being a positive force empowering us to pursue our dreams. My mother, an orphan from father,was raised with limited financial resources, but was dedicated to get an education and succeed. She gained a high school scholarship toUSA and then returned to Greece where she studied law, received a PhD in Bioethics and built a renowned career in Europe as an expert in bioethics and policies. She died from cancer at the age of 58, passing the familytorch to my sisters and me. She has truly been ever since my inspiration to live and work giving my best self and valuing every moment of it.

I followed an academic career, as a neuropsychopharmacologistand established an independent research program that focuses on studying sex differences in models of depression and antidepressant response. In the past year I had the pleasure to be involved as a scientist expert in the European Union’s Research Integrity and Bioethics Unit. In this role, I myself have broadened my scientific horizons and reconnected tomy upbringing in a house of lawyers who frequently discussed about advocacy and policies that safeguard the ethical conduct of the scientific enterprise. Thus, reflecting on my career I have to admit that I had the best role model that anyone can ask for: my mother.I hope I can be the same for my daughter, Dione.

In my career I was fortunate to have met important women scientists who mentored and supported me.  My PhD thesis advisor Dr. Z. Papadopoulou-Daifoti, a Professor in the Medical School of Athens, introduced me,in 2000, tothe novel fieldofsex differences in neuropsychopharmacology. During my career, in Greece I was always surrounded by strong and successful women, as female scientists have a strong presence in the Hellenic Society for Neurosciences. Later, in 2005 when I moved to Rutgers University in New Jersey for my post-doctoral studies having a Marie Curie fellowship, I was mentored by an extraordinaryscientist that truly transformed my career, Prof. Tracey J. Shors. Anyone whohas met Tracey knows that she is a remarkable woman, who has pioneered the importance of sex differences in neuroscience. Tracey is not only a true scientist but an inspiring mentor who motivates and transfers her enthusiasm for good science to everyone around her!  This is how I want myself to lead my scientific endeavors. I was fortunate that Tracey connected me to a network of extraordinary women neuroscientists whobecame my dear friends and collaborators. To set the record straight, I did not live in a women-only convent. I have always been surrounded by male peers and friends who have supported me in my personal and professional life. These peers have broken down past behaviors and consider women as equal partnersin the scientific endeavor.

Earlier in my career I did not face significant professional issues due to my gender. My experiences changed when I joined the Medical School of Athens, where I was recently promoted to the level of Associate Professor. My administrative duties involved my participation in committees at the Medical School, the National Medicines Organizations and at the Ministry of Health. I realized early onthat as a young, “petite” woman, I had to be twice more convincing, well-prepared and persuasivethan my male peers, in order to express my professional opinion. However, I have learned to overcome thesebackward - thinking attitudes by being confident, well prepared, knowing my science well, and showing everyone firmly that I have an equal seat on the table. It is a skill that needs to be acquired, sometimes -like in my case- also inherited… Perseverance and Resilience.

In the last years, my peers elected me as the President of the Hellenic Society for Neurosciences and President-elect of the Mediterranean Neuroscience Society, because they value my scientific path and my vision to most effectively support a vibrant scientific network for all of us inthe Mediterranean area. However, as a woman young scientist I face the same challenges with my male peers primarily in securing adequate funding and occasionally some conflicts. My message is for women and men scientists alike. We manage to overcome problems and thrive when we have strong networks of support around us: families, partners, friends, colleagues. Empowered we walk the walk.

I plan for an impactful future. To become a better mentor for the younger generation, expand my research and translate my discoveries to true gains for the well-being of men and women. I put special emphasis onoutreach efforts to disseminate science beyond the boundaries of academia and educate the public. For these efforts, I was recently honored to be invited to join the DANA alliance for brain initiatives as a full member. Currently, as Principal Investigator at the Medical School of Athens and as a member of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Preclinical Data Network, with the support of a talentedand well-trainedteam, we thrive to push forward the field of Psychopharmacology, with a strong focus on promoting women’s health. Employing multidisciplinaryapproaches and collaborations that encompasses Psychopharmacology, Neuroendocrinology and Psychiatry, we seek to grasp a bigger picture and formulate new research hypotheses regarding sex differences in neurobiology and their effects on drug development. My scientific mission is completed byteaching and mentoring the next generation in the largestand oldest Medical School of Greece. Additionally, as a member of the “Greek Women in Academia Association” and as aL’Oreal - Unescoawardee, I advocate for women in sciences and academia.Through my work, mentorship, and the visibility that my positions and awards have given me during the past few years, I hope that I will be able to build more effectively a supporting environment for scientific endeavour and innovation for the younger generation. I first-hand see the damage that takes place by the continuous scientific “brain-drain” not only in Greece,but in the whole Mediterranean area. Conducting great science, and creating equalopportunity for women and men scientists to thrive is my mission.


 I would like to sincerely thank Dr. SpyridonMylonas and Mrs Marianna Sidiropouloufor their valuable comments on this commentary. I would also like to acknowledge the valuable contribution of the current and past members of my research group, as well as our national and international collaborators.
MNS Malta Conference 2017
The 6th Mediterranean Neuroscience Conference was held from the 12th to the 15th June 2017 in St Julian’s, Malta. This event was a great success, being the largest MNS conference since the beginning of the series.
67 selected contributed symposia, keynote speakers, an attendance of 400 participants from 41 different countries.

Keynote lectures were given by Giacomo Rizzolatti (University of Parma and University of Malta), Michaela Matteoli (University of Milan), Raphael Mechoulam (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Pierre Magistretti (EPFL, Lausanne and KAUST, Saudi Arabia – IBRO president), Rosa Cossart (Aix-Marseille University – INSERM), Ilana Gozes (Tel Aviv University), Carmen Cavada (Autonomous University of Madrid) and Vincenzo Crunelli (University of Cardiff and University of Malta). An additional special lecture featured Juan Lerma (Neuroscience Inst. of Alicante, secretary general of the FENS).

There was an exciting program, as it is shown by the conference proceedings and a relevant article  with information on awards

The lead organizer of the event was Giuseppe di Giovanni (University of Malta), vice-president of the MNS from 2017 to 2019.

A special round table on initiatives for euro-mediterranean cooperation was also held, featuring David Hansel (University Paris-Descartes) and Ahmed El Hady (Princeton University), as representatives of the training initiative Neurobridges, as well as a video-message by Mohammed Herzallah, leader of the Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative.