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MNS portrait #5 - Myriam Fezai
MNS portrait #5 - Myriam Fezai
The Young Tunisian Researchers in Biology

An interview to Myriam Fezai (Eberhard-Karls-University of Tübingen), founder and spokesperson of the Young Tunisian researchers in Biology network.

What is the YTRB?

The Young Tunisian Researchers in Biology YTRB is a dream that became true. it’s the incredible story of young scientists who believe in their ability to create a change in the scientific research in their home country, Tunisia. They decided to launch a large network between researchers in biology inside Tunisia together with their peers all over the world. Thus, the idea of organizing an international symposium for young scientists came out.

All graduated from Tunisian Universities in different disciplines in Biological Sciences and pursued their Ph.D. or part of it, each, in a foreign country where they grow up as young researchers with the willing to bring a new wave of ideas and fresh network to their home country.
The Young Tunisian Researchers in Biology YTRB is a dream that became true. it’s the incredible story of young scientists who believe in their ability to create a change in the scientific research in their home country.
Our Motto?

Be Young, Be Brilliant, Be YTRB!

How and when it was created?

The idea came out in early 2015 with Chamseddine Kifegi, Mohamed Jemaà, Walid Elfalleh and Imen Chamkha, discussed with Myriam Fezai and Fakher Frikha. The 1st call was launched in April 2015, inviting all contacts in biology-related fields from all Tunisian Universities, and soon Ons Mamai, Chaker Slaymi, Radhouène Doggui, Nourhène Fendri and Abdelaziz Tlili joined as founding members.
The 1st skype meeting was held in early May 2015 and ended with fixing a target: “May 2016 will be the date of the 1st International Symposium of Young Researchers in Biology in Tunisia”. The enthusiasm, eagerness and hard work of all members made it successful.

What are the main ideas behind it?

Despite the huge potential, the scientific life of a biologist in Tunisia is more and more stagnant. The collaborations are still with the same old people (retired now) and dying institutes. The YTRB, are deeply affected by the gap they feel once they visit any scientific event in their home country, compared to leading countries in scientific research. No real technology exchange, no real collaborations.

The only alternative was to present a new event following the international norms and show the difference. A selection of Young and Brilliant PI and group leaders invited from all over the globe to expose the newest discoveries in applied biological science and technologies. As well, the YTRB organized series of Skype conferences in different institutes in Tunisia, with the same motto: Young and Brilliant PI open to collaboration.

What are the aims of this group of YTRB?

The major aim of YTRB is to create a new and young collaboration network and to help young Tunisian colleagues to connect to their peers all over the world, in order to provide knowledge, experience and technology exchange. May it be a way to contribute modestly to renew the scientific research in Tunisia.

We guarantee a nice and unique atmosphere for a serious networking and easy contact with our invited speakers who are simply looking forward to getting in touch with new collaborators.

What is/was the challenge?

The biggest challenge was and still how to organize such huge event and make it successful without any single resource or support. We had no fund, no sponsor, no partnership and no experience. But we could make it concrete and successful within months. We did everything like “big guys” from the very tiny detail to the end. And the 1st symposium can be compared “modestly” to an EMBO event.

The second challenge was how to convince the colleagues to participate. As soon as the invited speakers’ names were announced, participants did not hesitate. For instance, we had the youngest and 6th most cited scientist all over the world Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi as a guest speaker, among others.

How to reach YTRB?

We have a website, a Facebook page and even a Youtube channel!

What are the achievements of YTRB?

The YTRB network at the very beginning was limited to only 11 persons, today it counts hundreds of scientists working if different Biology fields’ worldwide.

The 1st symposium held in May 2016, was a real success. Over 180 participants from different countries, namely: Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, France, Italy, Germany, UK, Sweden, Denmark, UAE, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and the USA. Collaborations built have been fruitful and here is the real impact and aim of the YTRB network:

  • 4 scientific papers were published in internationally recognized scientific journals among them one publication in the prestigious Scientific Reports (Nature publishing group), the work is a collaboration between Germany, France, Sweden and Tunisia.
  • The 1st startup of Big DATA in Biology in Tunisia, Youbetrust, was created in the technopole El Ghazala, Ariana; Tunisia with the collaborators from Singapour, USA, France and Tunisia.
What are the future actions of YTRB?

Future, or rather… ongoing! The next symposium will take place in Hammamet, Tunisia, from the 10th to the 13th of May 2018. We are pleased to welcome brilliant young PI from Tunisia, France, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Canada. Two pre-symposium workshop sessions have been organized in parallel on the 9th of May about “protein docking” and “how to plan and get a postdoc”.

Of course we continue our skype conferences series every 3 months in different institutions with the same criteria of young and brilliant PI.

Stay tuned for our next editions and support us!

Interview collected by Azza Sellami, MNS councillor.

MNS Best Poster and Best presentation prizes at IBRO-ARC
MNS awarded Best Poster and Best presentation prizes at the third IBRO-ARC workshop "Central Nervous System Developmental Remodeling and Neuroplasticity" Faculty of Science, Alexandria University EGYPT with the support of IBRO and MNS 17 to 19 December 2020 Alexandria University, Egypt Virtual Workshop    
The Workshop The workshop was held over three days from 17 to 19 December 2020 on Zoom platform. A group of young researchers from Egypt, Tunis, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and India actively participated in this event. Furthermore, the sessions were delivered by distinguished professors from Egypt, France, Malta, Nigeria and South Africa. To maximize the benefit, the lectures were live-streamed over two days through the portals of IBRO and MNS:   The workshop curriculum included ten sessions ranging from educational lectures and academic research to the presentation of the opportunities available to students and the current challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, treatments from cannabinoid-derivatives and its relation with the central nervous system. The workshop also introduced the best methods of scientific publishing, with a commitment to the ethics of scientific research and publication. The workshop reviewed the opportunities available through the participating organizations. The workshop covered three practical sessions on molecular biology techniques, western blotting and brain anatomy. The prizes The workshop also included competitions among young researchers on their research presentations and the design of research posters.   The workshop concluded with a review of the results of the competitions, and MNS President Prof. Giuseppe Di Giovanni awarded a financial prize (€150) funded by MNS to Mustapha Oluwaseun from Nigeria for his excellence in all his contributions. The first best research presentation prize and the first best poster design were also funded by MNS.   The best research presentation prize The first prize (€150) was awarded to Fatma Ahmed from Lebanon The second prize was awarded to Nour-Eddine Kaikai from Morocco as a certificate of appreciation The third prize was awarded to Islam Ayman from Egypt and as a certificate of appreciation The best poster designs. The first prize (€150) was awarded to Sarah Mahfouz from Egypt The second prize was awarded to Isaac Henneh from Ghana as a certificate of appreciation The third prize was awarded to Yvette Nguizeye from Cameroon as a certificate of appreciation The workshop concluded with congratulating on the success of the workshop and thanking all funding organizations, lecturers, organizing committees, participants and wishes of a happy new year.
3rd IBRO-ARC Virtual workshop: Central Nervous System Developmental Remodeling and Neuroplasticity.
As President of the Mediterranean Neuroscience Society I am honored to invite you to join the virtual meeting of the 3rd IBRO (International Brain Research Organization) IBRO Africa Regional Committee workshop: Central Nervous System Developmental Remodeling and Neuroplasticity.The workshop will be hosted by Faculty of Science in #Alexandria University, #Egypt between 17-18 December 2020. Part of the program will be shared live as indicated in the attached program. Please save the dates and join US according to the timeline… We want to thank Amira Zaky for its organization and her valuable support.Join us through the following channels: -
Giuseppe Di GiovanniMNS President
Postdoctoral Researcher Bioinformatics/Neuroscience University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego)
Expires on January 02, 2021
Postdoctoral Researcher Bioinformatics/NeuroscienceUniversity of California, San Diego (UC San Diego)La Jolla, United StatesWe are looking for a postdoctoral researcher to join the labs of Drs. Christopher Benner and Francesca Telese in the Department of Medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.The candidate will work in an interdisciplinary environment at the intersection of bioinformatics and neurobiology, using cutting edge genomics profiling and analysis techniques to understand subsistence abuse disorders and addiction.Dr. Benner’s research program is largely focused on decoding the regulatory functions of the genome by developing and applying NGS methods and computational analysis across different biological systems. A major goal of the lab is to study the role of enhancer elements in transcriptional regulation and to investigate disease-associated genetic variation on enhancer function to better understand the impact that non-coding DNA has on regulatory networks.Dr. Telese’s research program is primarily focused on using molecular and next-generation sequencing (NGS) methods to study tissue- and cell type-specific gene regulatory mechanisms that contribute to susceptibility and development of substance use disorders, using animal models. A major goal of the lab is to generate novel hypotheses that can be tested using functional genetic tools to elucidate unknown disease mechanisms and to identify novel therapeutic targets.Successful candidates will be expected to lead a project investigating the molecular and genetic underpinnings of addiction. Using single cell technologies and other advanced NGS techniques, the candidate will be responsible for both data acquisition and analysis, with the goal of elucidating transcriptional networks in the brain and verifying their findings. The candidate will have direct access to an Illumina NextSeq sequencer and extensive computational resources. The candidate will receive training in both laboratories, which will include working on novel NGS techniques and the development of new bioinformatics software and tools to characterize changes in transcription, chromatin states and genome structure during different stages of addiction development. This project is funded by an NIH U01 grant. Candidates should have a strong background in genomics, and serious scientists that specialize in either experimental and/or computational work will be considered for the position.UCSD is part of a vibrant scientific community in Southern California and is committed to build a culturally diverse and inclusive environment. Applications from female and minority candidates are strongly encouraged.Please send a cover letter describing research interest and fit for this position, a recent CV, and contact information of at least two references to Drs. Telese Francesca and Chris Benner  
MNS2021 - Canceled and Rescheduled  - President's Message
Dear MNS Members,
The Mediterranean Neuroscience Society is closely monitoring developments related to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our members is the number one priority of our society. Several other conferences and workshops have already made the decision to move to web-hosted events, while other conferences have decided to either change venues, reschedule the event, or to stay the course for now. Due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the importance of having an in-presence conference according the MNS’ aims, we have decided to cancel MNS2021, in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The conference has been rescheduled to May 29-June 2, 2022 and will still be held in Dubrovnik. We want to keep all of you informed as best as possible, please continue to check our website for updates about upcoming conference and events.   Wishing you the very best,   Giuseppe Di Giovanni   Mediterranean Neuroscience Society President