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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

Two Postdoc positions available in the Neuropsychopharmacology lab at the European Center for Brain Research (CERC), Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy
PIs: Prof. Patrizia Campolongo & Dr. Maria Morena.

The lab has expertise in clinical and preclinical (rats) research on mechanisms of hypermemory and cognitive decline and related neurological disorder, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and on the influence of stress and arousal systems (including glucocorticoids, catecholamines and endocannabinoids) on learning and memory processes to elucidate mechanisms of stress-related psychiatric disorders at different developmental ages.

Postdocs are expected to work on the preclinical research part of the following funded projects: 1. “Leveraging the neural circuits of hypermemory to ameliorate memory dysfunction in prodromal Alzheimer's disease” 2. “Integrating cannabinoids into the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: exploring mechanisms of amygdala-hippocampal communication during information contextualization” We encourage applications for well-motivated National or International Postdocs with:Background in neuropharmacology/neuroscience.Experience in all (or some) of the following techniques: behavioral pharmacology, electrophysiology (in vivo, ex vivo-whole cell patch clamp recordings), optogenetics, fiber photometry, stereotaxic surgery, immunohistochemistry, molecular biology.Experience in paper and grant writing.Good knowledge of English (spoken and written).Good networking ability. Contract length: One year (can be renewed for a further two years) Starting date:  October/December2022

 If interested, please send a motivation letter and a CV to or

Committee on Animals in Research in the Mediterranean Area (CARMA)
Members of CARMA are the Councillors of MNS with the President as the Chairman 

CARMA advises MNS on the responsible use of animals in neuroscience research, supports the development of relevant resources on animals in research and promotes public education in matters related to the use of animals in neuroscience in the Mediterranean area.
"Animals are commonly used for scientific purposes in North Africa and the Middle East. However, this field is often inadequately regulated, with many countries lacking national legislation, policies, or guidelines for the care and use of animals used for research, testing, or education. This results in an essentially uncontrolled system where scientific quality and animal wellbeing cannot robustly be guaranteed, which may hinder acceptance (i.e., publication) of results by the scientific community and limit public confidence. An overarching system is needed to oversee the efficient promotion of scientific and ethical standards and the dissemination of information on laboratory animal science in North Africa and the Middle East, while each country should remain able to maintain a system of oversight that reflects its own cultures, traditions, religions, laws, and regulations." Mohr BJ, Fakoya FA, Hau J, Souilem O, Anestidou L. The Governance of Animal Care and Use for Scientific Purposes in Africa and the Middle East. ILAR J. 2016 May 1;57(3):333-346. doi: 10.1093/ilar/ilw035. PMID: 29117404.

The mission of CARMA falls within the following areas:
Organizing the first Survey on Animals in Research in the Mediterranean AreaMonitoring and adviceEducation and outreachTraining and support
Results MNS Extraordinary General Assembly Virtual Vote
Dear MNS Member,
Thank you for your trust and support for the present Council.According to the results of the GA vote, the Council will remain as it is until MNS2023 when a new election will be called.Please find the results of the vote below,
We hope you will help us to make your Society better and to see you in Dubrovnik soon! Giuseppe Di Giovanni On behalf of the MNS Council
Extended Deadline for Oral/Poster Abstract submission to MNS2022

IMPORTANT NOTICEDeadline for Oral/Poster Abstract submission (including symposium proposals abstracts) & Travel Grants submission is extended until March 15, 2022

Instructions for registration

Instructions for abstract submission