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7th Conference of the Mediterranean Neuroscience Society (MNS)
Marrakech, Morocco, 23-27 June 2019
President: Youssef Anouar, France
Programme: link

The 7th Edition of the Meeting of the Mediterranean Neuroscience Society (MNS) took place in Marrakech, Morocco on June 23-27, 2019, with Prof. Youssef Anouar as the main organizer. The 2019 MNS Meeting gathered 467 participants (215 women and 252 men) from 42 different countries, including Canada, USA, Australia, but also Uganda, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, and offered a rich scientific program with 7 Plenary Lecturers, 71 symposia, 36 Oral Communications, 2 Poster Sessions and 1 workshop, including 390 speakers in total (plenaries, symposia, oral communications): 129 women and 261 men. Social events included a welcome cocktail (June 23, evening), a Gala Dinner (June 26, evening) with local music and shows, and excursions to different regions in South of Morocco (Marrakech, Essaouira, Ouzoud falls, Ourika Valley and Ouarzazate) to have a taste of the Moroccan culture and society.

In this meeting, we had an exciting program and the pleasure of welcoming an exceptional lineup of Lecturers from Spain (Agnès Gruart), Italy (Giorgio Racagni), Switzerland (Carmen Sandi), France (Vincent Prévot) and USA (Yasmin Hurd). In addition, a special plenary lecture on the “Neurobiology of adaptations to desert biotope, lessons from camel and goat studies” was given by a local scientist, Pr Khalid El Allali to highlight neuroscience research in the South Mediterranean area. The topics of the Lectures witnessed the interdisciplinary nature of the meeting by encompassing several different topics, including learning and memory, neuroadaptation, neurometabolomics, addiction, antipsychotic drugs and neurodegenerative disease. Plenary Lecturers were partially sponsored by prestigious Scientific Societies such as the European Brain Behaviour Society (EBBS), the French Societies of Neuroendocrinology and Cell Biology, the Spanish Society of Neuroscience (SENC) as well as by the Frontiers open-access Journals, the University of Rouen Normandy, the Normandy Region and the European Community.

In line with the scientific interests of symposia organizers and invited speakers, many symposia were focused on the pharmacological modulation of emotional states and behaviour as well as on the neurobiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. Drug and food addiction, pain, mood disorders (mostly anxiety and depression), motor impairment, animal models of neurological and psychiatric diseases, social and play behavior, memory, learning and cognition are only few examples. Indeed, speakers illustrated new advances on the nervous system functioning from molecular and cellular to behavioral level, including pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, and discussed the development of and novel therapeutic approaches to mental diseases, signaling mechanisms of lipid molecules like endocannabinoids, structural features and physiological roles of ion channels, epigenetic mechanisms in pathological addictions, molecular regulation of neurotransmitter and G-protein coupled receptors, microbiota and brain axis and much more. Particular attention has been given to gender differences in mental health and disease, to translational potentials of latest findings in basic research, to personal genomics in psychiatric disorders, and to the circadian clock as an interface between the physiological processes and the environment. State-of-the art technology has been illustrated in dedicated symposia, along with newest discoveries on the role of brain neurotransmitters in regulating reward, memory, learning, cognition, sleep, motor functions, pain, eating behavior, stress and emotions.

Besides the symposia, four separate sessions of Oral Communications have been dedicated to the latest innovative findings and to youngest researchers (PhD and post-doc students) that have been selected based on the quality of the abstracts of their work (Free Oral Communications). During the Poster Sessions, Poster Presenters (mostly PhD and post doc Students) had the opportunity to present their own work and to discuss data with senior neuroscientists coming from different disciplines and Mediterranean countries. A workshop has been organized on “How to get a paper published, read and cited” where Editors, publishers and reviewers provided ample advice to publish scientific research work. The meetings have proved to be highly beneficial, not only for the scientific exchanges, but also in terms of training opportunities for students and young researchers.

Thanks to financial support from the International Society of Neurochemistry (ISN), the Pan European Regional Committee for the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO-PERC) and the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology among other sponsors, we have been able to provide 24 Travel Grants to PhD students and Post-docs presenting posters or giving a talk at the 2019 MNS Meeting.

10 article collections in Frontiers in Neuroscience Series were based on different MNS2019 symposia

MNS2019 Frontiers HOT TOPICS

  1. Dendritic Spines: from Biophysics to Neuropathology, led by Menahem Segal, Martine Ammassari-Teule, Carlo Sala.
  2. Brain-Liver Axis and Glutamate Homeostasis, led by Arturo Ortega, Mustapha Najimi.
  3. New GPCR Targets and Modulators to Treat CNS Disorders, led by Giuseppe Di Giovanni, Abdeslam Chagraoui, Philippe De Deurwaerdere, Evgeni Ponimaskin.
  4. The Role of Cellular Senescence in Health and Disease, led by Isabel Varela-Nieto, Ignacio Palmero, Vassilis G Gorgoulis.
  5. The Role of Autophagy and the Unfolded Protein Response (Upr) in Proper and Improper Brain Function, in General, and in the Mechanism of Mood Stabilization, in Particular, led by Galila Agam and Miriam L. Greenberg.
  6. The Therapeutic Potential of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Addiction, led by Marco Diana and Liana Fattore.
  7. Novel Psychoactive Drugs – The Saga Continues... led by Aviv Weinstein and Liana Fattore.
  8. Neurobiology of Exercise: Regulating Factors, Individual Differences and Therapeutic Approaches, led by Mercè Correa and John D Salamone.
  9. Developing Brain in Danger: Critical Periods of Vulnerability from In-utero to Adolescence, led by Carla Cannizzaro, Miriam Melis, Sophie Laye.
  10. Progress in Risk Factors and Development of Parkinson’s Disease, led by Annalisa Pinna, Nicola Simola, Micaela Morelli, Simone Engelender.

Journal of Neuroscience Methods

MNS2019 Mediterranean Neuroscience Methods

  1. Animal models of pain: diversity and benefits, by Marc Landry.
  2. Conditioning Automatic Inhibition Task: Introducing a Novel Task to Associate Automatic Inhibition with Specific Cues, by Shachar Hochman.
  3. Regeneration of the neurogliavascular unit visualized in vivo by transcranial live-cell imaging, by Freddy Jeanneteau.
  4. Protocols for instrumental memory reconsolidation in rodents: a methodological review, by Alessandro Piva.
  5. Phosphoproteomic and bioinformatic methods for analyzing signaling in vertebrate axon growth and regeneration, by Michihiro Igarashi.
  6. A new methodological approach for in vitro determination of the role of DNA methylation on Transcription Factor binding using AlphaScreen® analysis: focus on CREB1 binding at hBDNF promoter IV, by Mariangela Pucci.
  7. Three-dimensional mapping of tyrosine hydroxylase in the transparent brain and adrenal of prenatal and pre-weaning mice: Comprehensive methodological flowchart and quantitative aspects of 3D mapping, by Youssef Anouar.
  8. A non-invasive hidden goal test for spatial orientation deficit detection in subjects with suspected mild cognitive impairment, by Goran Simic.


  • President: Youssef Anouar (France)


  1. Hedayat Abdel Ghaffar (Egypt)
  2. Nora Abrous (France)
  3. Thomas Boraud (France)
  4. Driss Boussaoud (France)
  5. Fatiha Chigr (Morocco)
  6. Gustavo Deco (Spain)
  7. Marc Landry (France)
  8. Olivier Manzoni (France)
  9. Marie Moftah (Egypt)
  10. Mohamed Najimi (Morocco)
  11. Paul Pévet (France)


  1. Youssef Anouar (France)
  2. Mohamed Bennis (Morocco)
  3. Loubna Boukhzar (France)
  4. Nicolas Chartel (France)
  5. Hicham Chatoui (Morocco)
  6. Fatiha Chigr (Morocco)
  7. Giuseppe Di Giovanni (Malta)
  8. Khalid El Allali (Morocco)
  9. Mohammed Errami (Morocco)
  10. Liana Fattore (Italy)
  11. Taoufiq Fechtali (Morocco)
  12. Halima Gamrani (Morocco)
  13. Isabelle Lihrmann (France)
  14. Rabia Magoul (Morocco)
  15. Mohamed Merzouki (Morocco)
  16. Maïté Montero-Hadjaje (France)
  17. Mohamed Najimi (Morocco)
  18. Marie Picot (France)
  19. Souad Bamhamed (Morocco)


  • Ainani Hassan, Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine, Rabat, Morocco
  • Akki Rachid, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University Abdelmalek Essaa di, Tetouan, Morocco
  • Alkhoury Abboud Cynthia, Université du Saint Esprit Kaslik, Joun ieh, Lebanon
  • Anfal Ahmad AbuHilal, Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, Palestine
  • Anzilotti Serenella, IRCCS SDN, Napoli, Italy
  • AranzaWille-Bille, INIMEC-CONICET-UNC, Cordoba, Argentina
  • Ayad Youmna Nasser, Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
  • Castelli Valentina, Dipartimento di Biomedicina Sperimentale e Neuroscienze Cliniche, Palermo, Italy
  • Choukairi Zineb, Scho ol of Science and Technology, Mohammedia, Morocco
  • Deidda Gabriele, Department of Physiology & Biochemistry, Malta University, Malta
  • del Mar Reus Garcia Maria, División de Neurociencias, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla, Spain
  • El Assli Hicham, Laboratory of biological engineering, University Sultan Moulay Slimane, Faculty of Science and Technology, Béni Mellal, Morocco
  • Fois Giulia Raffaela, University of Bordeaux, Neurodegenerative Diseases Institute (IMN), Bordea ux, France
  • Frouni Imane, Montreal Neurological Institute, Montreal, Canada
  • Hammer Niklas, Goethe University, Institute of Neurophysiology, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Hsaini Asmae, Health and Environment Laboratory, Faculty of Sciences. Ibn Tofail University, Kenitra, Morocco
  • Karmon Gidon, Tel Aviv University, Herzeliya, Israel
  • Kokras Nikolaos, Department of Pharmacology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
  • Otomo Kanako, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute of Neurophysiology, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Padovani Laura, University of Verona, Diagnostics and Public Health, Verona, Italy
  • Patricio Patricia, ICVS - Life and Health Sciences Research Institute, Braga, Portugal
  • Salgado- Ferrer Marlène, University of Strasbourg, Faculté des Sciences de la Vie, Strasbourg, France
  • Salman Ayman Ahmad, Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative, Al-Quds University, Nablus, Palestine
  • Stark Tibor, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Stress Neurobiology and Neurogenetics, Münich, Germany

Female Pioneers from Ancient Egypt and the Middle East
Newly published book, about the appreciation of women who played vital roles in the evolution of science from the East. This book verifies that knowing about Eastern female pioneers' historical contributions in science, politics, and arts can advance today's gender roles in Middle Eastern countries and encourage young women living in Western societies with Eastern migration backgrounds.Broadening the public perception of these significant historical figures, therefore, has very high societal relevance. This knowledge offers a detailed evaluation of women's gender roles in Ancient Egypt and the Middle East, outlining their prominence and influence. It also discusses the possible psychological and social impact of this knowledge on today's gender roles. The evaluation involves crossing disciplines such as natural sciences, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, Islamic theology, history and arts, including diverse geographical regions worldwide.
Prestigious Italian Honour of ‘Knight’ for MNS President Giuseppe Di Giovanni
Congratulations Sir!!! Our President Giuseppe Di Giovanni has been awarded the honour of Cavaliere of the Order of the Star of Italy by the President of the Italian Republic Mattarella. The award included a diploma signed by the President of the Italian Republic and a Knight pin.The Ordine della Stella d’Italia recognises President Di Giovanni’s efforts to develop cooperation between Italy and Malta in the fields of science and culture.
The decoration is awarded to Italian and foreign citizens for their “extraordinary achievements in promoting friendly relations between Italy and other countries”.
“I am deeply honoured to receive this prestigious award,” said President Di Giovanni. This reflects Prof. Di Giovanni’s growing reputation for excellence in professional education and research as well as the international culture.
Throughout the years, President Di Giovanni has supported cultural exchanges strongly associated with Italy.
This award represents another significant honour for our President.
PhD studentship at the Medicine Department, University Jaume I de Castelló (UJI).
Applications are invited for a PhD studentship at the Medicine Department, University Jaume I de Castelló (UJI).The PhD candidate will be granted for a period of 4 years with a planned start between September 2021/January 2022 upon agreement with the successful candidate (Santiago Grisolia's Program from the Generalitat Valenciana; must be enrolled in a master program and hold a BsC in Biology, Biomedicine, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Psychology or related disciplines issued by a non-EU University or Institution. Neuroscience MsC is strongly desirable but not mandatory. The PhD project will aim at understanding the role of peptidergic transmission in pathological aggression related to alcohol abuse. During these 4 years, the candidate will work with two transgenic mouse lines and will be skilled in stereotaxic surgery, pharmacogenetics, optogenetics, behavioral paradigms, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, molecular neurobiology, confocal microscopy, RNAscope, ....To apply, please send your CV and a motivation letter (max. 2 pages) before 10 June 2021 to:Dr. Esther Castillo-Gómez ( Francisco Olucha ( Francisco Ros (
For more information about us:
Post-doc position for an in vitro electrophysiologist @ Crunelli/Di Giovanni Lab
Post-doc position for an in vitro electrophysiologist available at Giuseppe Di Giovanni's laboratory at the University of Malta for a collaborative research project with Professor Vincenzo Crunelli, Cardiff University, to investigate the role of serotonin 5-HT2C receptors in absence-epilepsy.
Job descriptionCALL FOR APPLICATIONS (Call ID: 37/2021) Post/s of Full-Time Research Support Officer III Project – “Lorcaserin as New Treatment for Absence Epilepsy – A Preclinical Study to pave the way for the clinical trial” And any other projects undertaken by the Department of Physiology & Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine & Surgery 1. Applications are invited for the post of Research Support Officer to carry out duties in relation to the Lorcaserin as New Treatment for Absence Epilepsy – A Preclinical Study to pave the way for the clinical trial project funded by the University of Malta’s Internal Research Fund. The Research Support Officer may also be required to work on other projects undertaken by the Department of Physiology & Biochemistry within the Faculty of Medicine & Surgery. 2. Applicants should be in possession of a PhD in the area of Neuroscience. The University of Malta is an Equal Opportunity employer. 3. Applicants must be willing and able to work in Malta. 4. The full-time post is for a period of 12 months and carries an initial remuneration of €31,200 per annum. 5. Candidates must submit their covering letter, a copy of their curriculum vitae, a scanned copy of their certificates (certificates of degrees must be submitted in English), and contact details of at least two referees. Applications must be sent by e-mail by not later than Friday, 30 April 2021. Late applications will not be considered. 6. Further information about the vacancy may be obtained from: Office of the University, Msida, 16 February 2021