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International Brain Research Organization
IBRO RALLIES THE WORLD’S NEUROSCIENTISTS TO RIO IN 2015
The International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), along with the Brazilian Society for Neuroscience and Behavior (SBNeC), invites the world’s neuroscientists to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 9th IBRO World Congress of Neuroscience. The Congress will take place from July 7 to 11, 2015, at the SulAmérica Convention Center, with convenient access to airports, beach hotels and many of the top sights within Rio de Janeiro.
A truly global neuroscience meeting held every four years, the IBRO World Congress aims to promote neuroscience, increase communication and facilitate collaboration between investigators throughout the world. Its participants come from every neuroscience domain and across every region of the world. Occurring between the Football World Cup (2014) and the Olympic Games (2016), the 2015 IBRO World Congress will benefit from the preparations for these events that will have greatly enhanced the city’s infrastructure. Add to that an availability of 28,000 hotel rooms at all price points, and Rio is well equipped to host the next IBRO World Congress. The scientific content will span all aspects of international neuroscience and will be overseen by the 2015 IBRO World Congress Program Committee: Rafael Linden (Brazil) – Chair Christian Giaume (France) – Glia, Glia-Neuron Interaction Megan Holmes (UK) – Homeostatic and Neuroendocrine Systems Christine von Broeckhoeven (Belgium) – Disorders of the Nervous System Mu-ming Poo (China) – Physiology: Neuronal Excitability and Synapse Function Min Zhuo (Canada) – Sensory and Motor Systems Keiji Tanaka (Japan) – Cognition and Behavior Freda Miller (Canada) – Development Andrew Schwartz (USA) – Physiology: Systems/Network Functions,Computational Neuroscience Roberto Lent (Local Organizing Committee, Brazil) Dora Fix Ventura (IBRO LARC, Brazil)
In this issue:
2014 IBRO Fellows New Cajal Training Programme Pan-Europe Committee 2
News from the Regions 6-7 Spotlight on Africa 8
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Visit the 2015 IBRO World Congress Website: www.ibro2015.org
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IBRO Governing Council elects new IBRO president
Pierre J. Magistretti of Lausanne, Switzerland, began his three-year term as IBRO President on January 1, 2014. He formerly served as IBRO’s Secretary-General from 2010 – 2012, during which time he was instrumental in establishing the IBRO Middle East/Northern Africa (MENA) Sub-Region to further enhance the infrastructure for neuroscience research there. In addition, he launched the IBRO Global Advocacy Initiative, a collaborative effort involving several other leading neuroscience societies representing all regions of the world. Professor Magistretti has made significant contributions in the field of brain energy metabolism and the function of glial cells. He is currently the Dean, Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering, at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, for which he is on leave from his posts as Professor at the University of Lausanne Medical School and Hospitals Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience (Department of Psychiatry) and Professor at the Brain Mind Institute, Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), in Lausanne. Below he discusses why he wants to continue his service to IBRO and how the organization can impact the development of world neuroscience. As IBRO’s former Secretary-General, what were the factors in your decision to run for the office of IBRO President? I’m very keen about what IBRO does. It is a fantastic organization that fulfills a unique function in world neuroscience, as IBRO really connects people at all levels, especially in terms of training, from early level to very senior, through all the schools that exist within the organization. IBRO also connects people across the world through its deep penetration within its regions, bringing unique, local characteristics and needs to the attention of our regional committees, and these needs are eventually brought up to IBRO Central and funded. I guess one can say that the phrase “Think globally, act locally” applies to IBRO, and I’m proud to continue serving the organization in this new function as president. I’m also extremely pleased to be working collaboratively with such an outstanding Secretary-General as Sten Grillner.
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The IBRO Global Advocacy Initiative: Interview with Sten Grillner
The IBRO Global Advocacy Initiative was launched in 2012, realizing the need to garner wider support for neuroscience research across the world. Its mission is to inform and educate key policymakers and other opinion leaders as well as the lay public about new scientific knowledge and recent developments in research on the brain and the nervous system, in both health and disease, on topics ranging from early development to aging. The Initiative came out of an earlier collaboration between the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), whose advocacy efforts are mainly focused within North America, and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), which is mobilizing its member societies to do advocacy work within European countries. Along with several other national neuroscience societies – including the Japanese and the Australian neuroscience societies – SfN and FENS agreed that IBRO should become the worldwide coordinator of this initiative. Now ISN, the International Society for Neurochemistry, and the Dana Foundation have also joined the Global Advocacy Initiative. IBRO can ensure local content and relevant programming, due to IBRO’s deep, imbedded knowledge of other regions gained through decades of capacity-building in less developed areas of the world. Since most of the funding for neuroscience is distributed through national funding organizations, the advocacy activities inevitably need to be carried out at the national level. This initiative will help provide tools and knowhow for efficient advocacy. The IBRO Secretary-General and Chair of the IBRO Global Advocacy Committee, Sten Grillner, recently answered some questions about the plans and timing of this Continued on page 5 important initiative:
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IBRO ANNOUNCES ITS 2014 FELLOWS
IBRO awards five Return Home Program grants to promote neuroscience research in the developing world
The IBRO Fellowships, Travel Grants and Return Home Program Committee recently awarded Return Home Program grants to five young neuroscientists – from Mongolia, Nepal, Argentina, Mexico and Egypt – who are returning to their country of origin after research training abroad. IBRO launched the Return Home Program in 2006 to counteract “brain drain” and promote the growth of quality neuroscience research in developing parts of the world. Each of the following researchers will be awarded 20,000 Euros as start-up funds in order to establish their own laboratory and research program. Battuvshin Lkhagvasuren, from Mongolia, completed his postdoctoral work in psychosomatic medicine at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. He will use the IBRO Return Home Program funding to establish his own laboratory at the Health Sciences University in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The first Mongolian scientist who specialized in and graduated in Neuroscience in a developed country, Dr. Lkhagvasuren plans to study the role of the histaminergic arousal system in thermoception during hibernation. “I plan to pursue a career in neuroscience upon the foundation of a Mongolian Society of Neuroscience, focusing on the transmission of knowledge of neuroscience to present and future generations of scientists,” said Dr. Lkhagvasuren. “By awarding me the Return Home Fellowship, IBRO has lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on establishing my new laboratory.” Ajaya Jang Kunwar, from Nepal, completed his post-doctoral training at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology, Ohio State University, USA, after earning his PhD at Georg August University in Goettingen, Germany. He has returned to Nepal to establish his own laboratory at the Nepalese Army Institute of Health Sciences in Kathmandu, a newly established non-profit health science institute that provides laboratory space and basic laboratory supplies, but does not provide funds for researchers. Using the IBRO Return Home Program funding, Dr. Kunwar will study the effect of long term gonadal hormone deprivation on central nervous system cytoarchitecture and on the behaviors of male and female rats. “Due to lack of resources and research funding and inadequate support from associated agencies, running a research career in itself is a challenging job,” wrote Dr. Kunwar. "Though I have worked in the state of facilities like [those found in] European and American labs, it’s almost beyond the dream to follow the same level of research here in Nepal. Therefore, I have to focus on such research which is feasible [within] the reality of developing countries like Nepal.” Lucia Alba-Ferrara, from Argentina, completed her postdoctoral training at the University of South Florida, USA, after earning her PhD at the University of Durham, UK. She will establish her own laboratory at the Instituto San Lazaro de Neurociencias/FULTRA in Salta, Argentina, which has active agreements with University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Washington University Medical School and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Alba-Ferrara is a qualified clinical psychologist and a welltrained neuroscientist who combines training in clinical as well as in experimental psychology with a background in basic neuroscience research, and she is particularly interested in investigating the link between emotional prosody deficits and auditory hallucinatory experiences. “We will recruit hallucinators from a population of indigenous inhabitants of the Argentinean Andes,” wrote Dr. Alba-Ferrara. “The clinical hallucinators will be medication naïve psychotic patients which, because lack of accessibility to the health system, have never received treatment. The non-clinical hallucinators will be culturally matched to this group. We will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity during auditory halucinations in both groups.” Luis Bernardo Tovar y Romo, from Mexico, finished his postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA, and will be establishing his own laboratory at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, in Mexico City. While working on his PhD at the same laboratory, his supervisor – Ricardo Tapia, M.D., Ph.D. – had this to say about him: “Luis is one of the best students I have ever had. He is a very talented, responsible, highly motivated and dedicated researcher, with initiative and ability to solve technical and theoretical problems.” Dr. Bernardo Tovar y Romo’s research focus is the molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroregeneration: “The specific objective is to assess the role of signaling mediators released from vascular and neuronal progenitors in the preservation of neuronal survival and functionality,” he wrote. “The understanding of these processes is of great importance for the implementation of therapeutic strategies that promote the preservation of neuronal viability and the functional recovery in patients that have suffered stroke.” Wael Mohamed, from Egypt, completed his doctorate degree at Penn State University, USA. He is in the process of establishing his own laboratory at Menoufia Medical School in Shebin El Kom, Egypt, where he is studying the effect of early iron deficiency anemia on the brain. According to his scientific mentor, Professor Richard Kostrzewa of East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine, Dr. Mohamed’s achievements “exceed the expectations of a young academician, and demonstrate his potential – and desire – to develop as an accomplished scientist. He published his first research paper while a master’s student in Egypt, and he has now first-authored eight scientific articles.” Early iron deficiency anemia is the most prevalent single-nutrient deficiency in the world today, significantly present in developing as well as industrialized countries. “In my home country of Egypt, this is a major problem, leading to cognitive impairment,” wrote Dr. Mohamed. “Completing this work will greatly enhance the management and treatment of some cognitive disorders like ADHD, especially among school age children.”
Important Funding Deadlines
• IBRO International Travel Grants (July – December 2014): March 1, 2014 • SfN-IBRO Travel Grants 2014: March 1, 2014 • IBRO Research Fellowships, 2015: June 1, 2014 • IBRO Return Home Fellowships, 2015: September 1, 2014 • IBRO International Travel Grants (January – June 2015): September 1, 2014 Check online at www.ibro.info for the deadlines of all of IBRO’s Regional Funding Programs: • Africa: Short Stay Fellowships in Africa or Abroad • Asia-Pacific: IBRO-APRC Exchange Fellowships and Interregional Travel Grants • Europe: PERC InEurope Short Stay Fellowships and Symposia/Workshops Funding • Latin America: Interregional Travel Grants, Schools and Short Courses Funding, Short Stay Fellowships and PROLAB • International Fellowships to Marine Biological/Cold Spring Harbor laboratories, USA
International Brain Research Organization
Secretary-General Sten Grillner (Sweden) President Pierre Magistretti (Switzerland) Treasurer Quentin Pittman (Canada) Regional Committee Chairs Pierre M.K. Luabeya (Africa) Keiji Tanaka (Asia-Pacific) Juan Lerma (Europe) Dora Fix Ventura (Latin America) Omar El-Agnef (Middle East/North Africa) Sharon Juliano (US/Canada) Chair of the Fellowships, Travel Grants & Return Home Committee Marta Hallak (Argentina) IBRO Secretariat 255 rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris, France Phone: +33 1 46 47 92 92 email@example.com Executive Director Stephanie de La Rochefoucauld firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Communications & Programs Robynn Rockstad-Rex email@example.com Professional Development Coordinator Aileen Guillaume firstname.lastname@example.org IBRO Web site: www.ibro.info
IBRO announces its 2014 Research Fellows
IBRO Research Fellowships, which include the John G Nicholls and Rita Levi-Montalcini Fellowships, support post-doctoral training to applicants under the age of 45 for up to one year abroad in high quality laboratories. The IBRO Research Fellowships were created in honor of John G. Nicholls, the founding director of the IBRO Visiting Lecture Team Programme (VLTP), and Rita Levi-Montalcini, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of the nerve growth factor. Karina Abrahao, the 2014 IBRO John G Nicholls Research Fellow, earned her PhD from the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Brazil) and did postdoctoral training at the Universidade de São Paulo. The IBRO Research Fellowship will allow her to begin a second postdoctoral fellowship, this time at the National Institutes of Health (NIH, in Bethesda, USA) in the laboratory of David Lovinger, where her research will focus on understanding, via the use of optogenetic and electrophysiological techniques, how ethanol exposure can affect neuronal adaptations and behavior. IBRO has been very influential in her career in neuroscience research thus far: “I am an alumna of IBRO since 2006, starting with a Visiting Lecture Team Program course in Manaus, Brazil. That time, I was very young and the School opened my mind for Neuroscience,” she wrote. “Indeed, I discovered that I have a big passion for electrophysiology after an IBRO course in Montevideo, Uruguay. IBRO Schools gave me the opportunity to be in touch with several techniques and ideas, and these shaped my career. Now it’s time to [take] another step in my scientific career and go to a very high quality lab at NIH. I want to learn techniques that Brazil does not have yet – mainly optogenetics, voltametry and, if possible, clarity – and to be able to bring the knowledge to Brazil one day, to develop studies in the
addiction field.” Pak Kan (Jacque) Ip, the 2014 IBRO Rita Levi-Montalcini Research Fellow from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, has investigated the molecular mechanism of cortex development. With the IBRO Research Fellowship, he will work at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT (Boston, USA) under the supervision of Prof. Mriganka Sur, focusing on the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Ip has developed a strong interest in neuropsychiatric disorders during his PhD research: “My long-term goal is to use multiple approaches including molecular biology and circuit neuroscience to study how specific gene mutation leads to various defects in neuropsychiatric diseases,” he wrote. “The IBRO fellowship will provide an invaluable opportunity to be trained, in a worldclass laboratory, on deciphering the complex neuronal circuits and its role in autism. This training opportunity will allow me to combine this expertise in molecular biology with cutting-edge circuit neuroscience.” IBRO (the International Brain Research Organization) is the global neuroscience federation dedicated to the promotion of neuroscience and communication between brain researchers around the world, with special emphasis on assisting young investigators in the developing world. Incorporated in 1961, IBRO now counts more than 80 member societies in over 60 countries around the world, with a membership of more than 75,000 neuroscientists.
IBRO INVESTS IN EDUCATION & EXCELLENCE
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IBRO and FENS collaborate in IBRO Alumni Committee shines the spotlight launching the Cajal Training on inspiring young scientists Programme
Since the initiation of the FENS (Federation of European Neuroscience Societies)IBRO European Neuroscience Schools Programme in 2006, more than 1000 neuroscience students from throughout the European continent have received training through two-week neuroscience schools. However, despite the recognized position of European neuroscience and brain research as leading in multiple fields of neuroscience, a high-level, coordinated and dedicated training facility for neuroscience does not currently exist in Europe, similar to Cold Spring Harbor or Woods Hole in the United States. “The establishment of a prominent site for state-of-the-art European neuroscience training courses is important for the sustained development of the next generation of neuroscientists,” said FENS President Marian Joëls. Therefore FENS, with IBRO as a full partner, has decided to replace their Schools Programme with a Centre of Excellence Programme to draw participants from throughout Europe. The plan is to provide approximately six training activities per year, with courses spanning five years. “IBRO’s commitment will ensure that the trainings held at the Centres of Excellence will also be open for students from outside of Europe,” said IBRO SecretaryGeneral Sten Grillner. In the past several years, the IBRO Alumni Committee has selected top-quality students from IBRO’s other Neuroscience Schools in other regions to participate in FENS-IBRO Neuroscience Schools, a successful initiative that IBRO Officers want to continue. The two institutes chosen – the University of Bordeaux (France) and the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown (Lisbon, Portugal) – were selected from an open bid process that called for, among other criteria, a faculty performing high-level neuroscience research as well as a commitment for maintaining training activities over several years. The course program will start with a Bordeaux (France), with a history of organizing minimum of two courses in successful courses within the FENS-IBRO Schools Programme, will potentially host four advanced Bordeaux in 2015 and one in training courses per year. Champalimaud, scaling up to a steady rate of at least four advanced training courses in Bordeaux per year, starting in 2016, with two other courses at the Champalimaud campus. By Susan Sara (France), Chair: The major initiative of the Committee in the past few years has been to organize a series of alumni symposia within regional and international meetings. We organized and supported three such symposia in 2013: Alumni Symposium at the 2013 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience: November 10, 2013, in San Diego, USA. Co-chaired by former IBRO Alumni Symposium speaker Dr. Hailan Hu, the four speakers were all recipients of IBRO “return home” grants and have recently established their own laboratories with the help of IBRO. Miranda Mladinic (Croatia/Italy), Pedro Bekenschtein (Argentina), Mir Shahram Safari (Iran/Japan) and Mario Perelló (Argentina) presented their research under the theme “Modulation of neuronal networks for behavioral adaptation: IBRO alumni around the world on the cutting edge of neuroscience.” Alumni Symposium at the 2013 Meeting of the Society of Neuroscientists of Africa (SONA): June 14, 2013, in Rabat, Morocco. Karim Fifel (Morocco), Solomon Umukoro (Nigeria), Toni-Lee Sterley (South Africa), Bamidele Victor Owoyele (Nigeria) and Philip A. Adeniyi (Nigeria) presented their research under the theme “Animal models for therapeutic intervention in neuropathological disorders.” Alumni Speakers at the NEURONUS 2013 IBRO & IRUN Neuroscience Forum: May 9-11, 2013, in Krakow, Poland. A session entitled ‘Basic Neuroscience’ was chaired by
Matthew Holt from the VIB Center for the Biology of Disease, KU Leuven in Belgium, who gave a presentation entitled “Fundamental Mechanics of Membrane Trafficking: Lessons from the Central Nervous System.” Anthony Holtmaat from the University of Geneva in Switzerland presented a keynote lecture titled “Compound mechanisms for sensory map plasticity in the mouse barrel cortex.” Both IBRO International Alumni Lecturers also participated in a Scientific Career Opportunities session held on the opening evening of the meeting, giving students and young and beginning neuroscientists an opportunity to learn more about scientific career pathways, experiences, and possibilities in a convivial and supportive atmosphere. IBRO Alumni Lecture at the 2013 FENS Featured Regional Meeting: September 12, 2013, in Prague, Czech Republic. FENS-IBRO School Alumna Ileana Hanganu-Opatz (University of Hamburg, Germany) delivered a lecture titled “Ontogeny of uni- and multisensory perception in rodents.” Additionally, the IBRO Alumni Committee supported Jimmy Olusakin from Kampala University, Uganda to attend the FENS-IBRO Summer Synapse School at the Bordeaux, France, training center in September 2013. This initiative follows the highly successful program established three years ago to bring top students from IBRO Schools to European Neuroscience Schools, funded by the Alumni Committee. After the School, Dr. Olusakin spent one week in Paris at the laboratory of Thomas Préat.
“IBRO’s commitment will ensure that the The 2013 SfN IBRO Alumni Speakers, who have each benefitted from IBRO’s Return Home Program (left to right): Mario Perelló , trainings held at the Centres of Excellence Pedro Bekenschtein, Miranda Mladinic and Mir Shahram Safari. will also be open for students from outside IBRO honors former president of Europe.”
Carlos Belmonte for his service to IBRO
The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown – a state-of-the-art biomedical research facility with an impressive new set of buildings located directly on the Atlantic coast of Lisbon, Portugal – houses the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme (CNP), which hosts around 150 scientists and staff is lead by 15 independent investigators. CNP laboratories apply advanced molecular, physiological and imaging techniques to elucidate the function of neural circuits and systems in animal models that include Drosophila, mouse, rat and zebrafish. Neuroscience research in Bordeaux has become, over the past 10 years, one of the most attractive sites across Europe, with more than 50 research groups organized in institutes and research units affiliated to the University of Bordeaux, the CNRS, the INSERM and the INRA. Bordeaux has a history of organizing attractive courses within the FENS /IBRO schools programme. The new advanced courses organized in Bordeaux will greatly benefit from technical facilities equipped with the best up-to-date equipment in Molecular and Cellular imaging, functional imaging in vivo, functional genomics , animal behavior, human behavior and psychopharmacology, and a movement analysis platform. “Due to the high complementarity between the Bordeaux and Champalimaud venues, the absolute range of courses that may be offered through such a dual model will be quite remarkable with respect to topics, disciplines and technical infrastructure,” said Professor Grillner.
On November 9, 2013, IBRO Secretary-General Sten Grillner led the IBRO Governing Council and Regional and Program Chairs participating in the meeting in a toast to two-term IBRO President Carlos Belmonte, whose second term in office finished at the end of 2013. Professor Belmonte thanked the IBRO Governing Council for its trust in him during his presence in IBRO and also acknowledged the other IBRO leaders for being extremely positive and helpful, as well as the IBRO staff for being solution-oriented. “IBRO has progressed substantially in recent years in terms of consolidating its global role in developing world neuroscience, and this is a result of the efforts of all the people sitting here today,” said Professor Belmonte, whose leadership of IBRO has spanned several decades.
Carlos Belmonte talks with IBRO Governing Council members during his final meeting as IBRO President, the role in which he served since 2008.
During his term in office as the IBRO Secretary-General from 1998-2001, Dr. Belmonte was instrumental in the reorganization of IBRO into six regions based on geographic, social and economic criteria. This structure has succeeded in giving neuroscientists in different parts of the world a direct voice in defining their own needs and priorities in research and science education. His recent contributions as IBRO President include working collaboratively with national and regional neuroscience societies in joint programs, as well as fostering the advancement of neuroscience research in the developing world, with a strong emphasis on excellence. He championed the idea of bringing together brilliant young neuroscientists to forge friendships and research collaborations that will continue as they become the future leaders in neuroscience.
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IBRO COMMITTEES LIGHT THE WAY
Women in World Neuroscience Committee
Chair: Emmeline Edwards (USA) – During 2013, the Committee on Women in World Neuroscience (WWN) continued to support a number of major initiatives around the world, to improve career development, mentoring and networking opportunities for women neuroscientists around the world, with special attention to women in disadvantaged regions. Some of the activities included: • Neuroscience for Daily Life of Women – WWN partially supported this Roundtable Discussion in Maracaibo, Venezuela, with women from Haiti and Venezuela who are involved in brain disorders research. • III Course of Experimental Neuroscience of Tolima: Cerebral Microdialysis from Theory to Practice – WWN provided partial funding for this The IBRO WWN partially funded the Experimental Neuroscience course in course, taking place at the University of Tolima Tomila, Columbia, as well as sponsored two promising female (Colombia). neuroscientists who will use the microdialysis techniques they learned
there to enhance their current research.
IBRO Ethics in Research Committee
Chair-Elect: Pedro Maldonado (Chile) – The IBRO Ethics in Research Committee has three main aims: (1) reaching out to educate and provide information to those with little knowledge of animal research, (2) promoting the ethical research guidelines for research in general, and (3) providing specific information to more advanced groups of scientists and animal care workers that request such guidelines. Here are Committee highlights from the past year: Symposium at the SONA meeting in Rabat, Morocco: The Committee presented a Symposium at the Society for Neuroscientists of Africa (SONA) conference in May 2013, titled “The Ethics of Neuroscience in Africa,” covering the history of bioethics; the importance of proper protocols, planning experiments, ethical committees, and animal activism; the ethics of using wild caught and unusual animals in research; and the ethical challenges faced by researchers in the laboratory environment. Participation in an IBRO school in Africa: Each year the Committee coordinates with the IBRO Africa Regional Committee to select a neuroscience training program in which to include special sessions on ethics. In September 2013, the Ethics in Research Committee participated in the IBRO Workshop on Epilepsy in Kigali, Republic of Rwanda, which connected Committee members to highly motivated individuals in Kigali who are interested in creating an upcoming regional workshop in Kigali focusing on ethics. Regional meetings in Latin America: The Committee of IBRO organized a small, regional workshop with eight neuroscientists from five different Latin American countries to discuss the current state of scientific ethics in both human and animal neuroscience research in Latin America. In addition, Committee member Silvina Diaz organized a meeting linking neuroscience researchers across Latin America with animal care specialists to discuss the ethics of using animals in research, among other topics.
• Junior Women Neuroscientists in Africa: A Sample from North, South, East and West Africa – SONA 2013 (Rabat, Morocco) – This symposium, co-sponsored by WWN, was proposed and chaired by Abdul Mohammed (Sweden/Kenya) and Nouria Lakhdar-Ghazal (Morocco), and attracted more than one hundred participants. • Female Neuroscientists on the Move: From Bench to Bedside and Back – SONA 2013 (Rabat, Morocco) – All presentations at this symposium highlighted the work of female neuroscientists engaged in research spanning from Basic to Translational and Clinical Research. • Global Mentoring Program: Enhancing Access Through Skype – WWN has provided six Skype units to WWN members in developing countries in order to facilitate on-line mentoring at the Punjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research, University of Karachi (Pakistan) and the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Makerere University (Uganda). • Functional Approaches to Increase Collaborations and Strengthen Research Networks – WWN sponsored this symposium held during the 2013 Society for Neuroscience meeting.
IBRO officially merges its two European regional committees, creating the Pan-Europe Regional Committee (PERC)
A new IBRO regional committee, the Pan-Europe Regional Committee (PERC), has been officially formed, combining what were previously the IBRO Central & Eastern Europe Regional Committee (CEERC) and the IBRO Western Europe Regional Committee (WERC). At a joint meeting with CEERC and WERC members held in Krakow, Poland, on May 11, 2013, the two committees voted to merge their identities into one committee serving all of Europe, as well as operate from the same budget starting in 2014. The former CEERC and WERC were created in 1995, “defined and created largely based on the consequences of the political and ideological differences existing at the time,” according to IBRO past President Carlos Belmonte, who was serving as IBRO’s SecretaryGeneral when the two separate committees were formed. “Much has changed in Europe and the world, since then.” “I believe the integration of the two European regions into a single one is a rather logical action,” said PERC Chair Juan Lerma. “No doubt this is a step forward towards making a stronger Europe, because both regions could benefit from each other in fostering neuroscience.” In the past several years, the CEERC and WERC have been collaborating on programs such as the InEurope Short Stay Grants program, which increases intra-European mobility of young researchers by providing grants for short, goaldirected exchanges within European laboratories, so that they can acquire new methods or specific techniques that are necessary for their work. New plans are underway to launch programs that will encourage further cross-Europe collaboration.
In November 2013, the IBRO Ethics in Research Committee organized a workshop in Montevideo, Uruguay, to review national policies across Latin America and to coordinate regional activities.
Visiting Lecture Team Program
Chair: U.J. (Jack) McMahan (USA) – The IBRO Visiting Lecture Team Program (VLTP) has been instrumental in launching neuroscience programs in areas where none existed. Students coming to a Visiting Lecture Team Program course typically come from wide range of scientific disciplines, which is why the VLTP courses cover a variety of topics of current interest in basic neuroscience. The lecturers’ lengthy contact with students is another hallmark of the VLTP, which benefits students when they pursue overseas training and other opportunities for career advancement. As a result, the IBRO VLTP has been influential in many brilliant young students’ decisions to embark on a career in neuroscience, including the 2014 IBRO Research Fellow Karina Abrahao and 2009 Research Fellow Sergiu Pasca, who was just offered a tenure-track Assistant Professorship at Stanford University (USA). In 2013, the IBRO VLTP traveled to Latvia and Paraguay to expose potential research scientists to neuroscience opportunities, both locally and abroad: Center for Cognitive Neurosciences and Semantics, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia – August 21-29, 2013. The course’s 52 students came mostly from Latvia but also included several students from Lithuania and Estonia, and were earning degrees in biophysics, biology, physics, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, pharmacology, and biomedical engineering. There were also four medical students, three advanced BS students and two postdoctoral fellows. “After the course, many commented on the fact that it was the first time they had had the opportunity to interact with professors in a profound way, and that it was inspiring to see, as presented in the course, how systematic, rigorous experimentation leads to the creation of previously unimagined and useful knowledge,” said visiting lecturer Jack McMahan. Universidad Nacional De Asuncion, Faculdad De Ciencias Medicas, Asuncion, Paraguay – October 10-16, 2013. More than 50 students attended this course, which included 25 lectures on basic and clinical neuroscience and small group discussions.
New committee aims to optimize resources and opportunities for young European neuroscientists, as well as strengthen cross-Europe collaboration.
NEUROSCIENCE NEWS & INITIATIVES
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Neuroscience, the journal: A message from the Chief Editor
Stephen Lisberger reports: Neuroscience continues to thrive and publish excellent papers in a changing environment for scientific publication. The Journal is adapting to new challenges, new competitors, and new ways of presenting scientific research. The field of brain research is becoming increasingly an international domain, and Neuroscience receives an increasing fraction of its papers from outside the traditional regions of North American and Europe. Journals that operate on the “open access” model are springing up in many forms, and Neuroscience is reacting by continuing to provide a good author experience while retaining a culture of strenuous but fair peer-review. Our editorial process is based on editors who are also working scientists, and who endeavor to curtail the excessive requirements of a small set of reviewers. We maintain a median time of just over 30 days from submission to first decision, and we now publish papers as part of an issue within 6-7 weeks after acceptance. Neuroscience continues to allow the authors the freedom to include all the material they need to present their research, without limitations on length or number of figures. We also attempt to present unified, readable papers by disallowing supplementary figures or text. One of the major features of the Neuroscience brand is our Special Issues. These contain commissioned review articles on timely themes and appear about four times a year. Look for a number of interesting Special Issues in the coming year.
The 2012 Neuroscience Cover Competition winner features illustration depicting the role of endocannabinoids in the extinction of fear
The winning cover of IBRO’s annual Neuroscience Cover Competition for 2012 is from an article by C.J. Riebe, F. Pamplona, K. Kamprath and C.T. Wotjak, titled “Fear relief - towards a new conceptual frame work and what endocannabinoids gotta do with it.” The article and corresponding cover illustration were featured in a special edition of Neuroscience (volume 204, pp 159-185) that was published in March 2012, titled “Stress, Emotional Behavior and the Endocannabinoid System.” First author and originator of the winning cover design, Fabricio Pamplona, is a scientific researcher of the D'Or Institute of Research and Education (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Also serving as article’s first author is Caitlin Riebe, from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry Research Group on Neuronal Plasticity (Munich, Germany). The winning cover featured an image of a man working to balance himself while walking across a tightrope. Dr. Pamplona explains the significance of the image as follows: “We represented the endocannabinoids as a ‘balance stick’ that helps a person to walk across the stressful events of the daily life in a urban scenario. The daredevil picture represents somebody that faces its challenges with confidence. And I wonder if such a person must have a well-tuned endocannabinoid system to keep safe."
Patrik Verstreken to be awarded 2014 IBRO-Kemali Prize for Research in the Field of Basic and Clinical Neurosciences
The Ninth International Prize of the IBRO-Kemali Foundation will be awarded to Patrik Verstreken of VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) and KU Leuven, (University of Leuven), Belgium. The IBRO-Kemali International Prize for Research in the Field of Basic and Clinical Neurosciences is awarded every two years to an outstanding researcher, under the age of 45, who has made important contributions in the field. As the winner of this prize, 38year-old Patrik Verstreken will receive 25,000 Euros from the IBRO-Kemali Foundation and will be invited to give a featured lecture at the 2014 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Forum of Neuroscience, taking place from July 5 to 9 in Milan, Italy. "Patrik Verstreken was chosen to receive the 2014 IBRO-Kemali Prize in recognition of his outstanding Young Belgian has work on mechanisms underlying presynaptic transmitter produced seminal release, and its relevance to neurodegenerative research on synaptic diseases," said Marina Bentivoglio, chair of the IBRO- transmission and Kemali Foundation Scientific Committee. The Parkinson’s disease. IBRO-Kemali Foundation (formerly the Dargut and Milena Kemali Foundation) was established in 1996 by Dargut Kemali, a renowned psychiatrist at the University of Naples, and by the will of his late wife Milena Agostini Kemali (1926-1993). Upon Dargut Kemali’s death in 2011, IBRO absorbed the Foundation, according to his wishes.
Illustration of winning cover
The IBRO Global Advocacy Initiative: Interview with Sten Grillner (Continued from page 1)
From your perspective, what are the key points about the brain that most need to be conveyed to both the public and lawmakers? That the brain is of central importance from many different perspectives, such as to: • understand the normal function of the brain and thereby ourselves, • maintain a healthy brain throughout life, • understand the many devastating diseases of the brain that make patients suffer and are responsible for no less than one third of the costs for health care in Europe and elsewhere, • develop new forms of therapy, including novel forms of drugs, • transfer the knowledge of learning and memory to the field of education, • utilize the knowledge of the brain for the development of robots that can perceive the environment and use this information to make “rational” decisions. Such “service robots” should be designed to assist humans with everyday tasks, and also patients. How does the IBRO roadmap for global advocacy differ from the projects already initiated by SfN and FENS? The FENS/SfN project can be considered a pilot project, in which the various European Neuroscience societies took part in a workshop highlighting successful examples of advocacy from different countries, including those in North America, and the strategies followed by national initiatives. With this as a background we have now started to implement a global plan, in which each region (i.e., South America, the Asian-Pacific area and Africa) will organize similar workshops. What do you see as the biggest barriers to increasing resources for neuroscience research in less developed regions of the world? As is the case in some developed regions as well, the local economies don’t allow for making research a priority. What is even more significant is that the political leaders may not realize why to engage in brain research. Therefore our task is to alert our national societies to the need for them to engage in advocacy, to inform lawmakers and the public of the need. And that they should support research perhaps in particular centers in which competence can be developed. Are there plans to increase the partners and resources with which IBRO is working, to boost critical mass in terms of influencing policymakers around the world and the lay public? Yes, we have plans to reach out to other like-minded associations, and we have been also expanding from the initiation, with the addition of the Dana Foundation and the International Society for Neurochemistry, for example. How will IBRO identify the top priorities and challenges for each region or country? In each of the IBRO regions during 2014 we will have a workshop including all the national societies, with a program that should include speakers with different backgrounds and skills in advocacy, as well as regional and national funding agencies, and also relevant political organizations or academies. For example, in Africa we want to include the African Academy of Sciences. The goal will be to bring all the different viewpoints together to identify the key issues, priorities, resources and actionable steps. This will be followed by actions during 2015-16 funded by the seed money we have collected thus far, and perhaps other types of funding.
IBRO Member Spotlight
The International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF), an IBRO member since 2011, develops collaborative neuroinformatics infrastructure and promotes the sharing of data and computing resources to the international research community. Neuroinformatics integrates information across all levels and scales of neuroscience to help understand the brain and treat disease. For more information: www.ibro.info/incf.
IBRO Governing Council Elects New IBRO President (Continued from page 1)
What are your goals for IBRO during your term as President? I think IBRO can play a very important role in Global Advocacy. I would also like to continue IBRO’s past President Carlos Belmonte’s vision – to continue to differentiate between the early and the more advanced stages of IBRO schools. In particular I intend to further consolidate the IBRO College model, where very talented and well-trained neuroscientists from less favored countries can interact with young
faculty from more established countries to form collaborative relationships among the future leaders in neuroscience. Also, as IBRO’s Secretary-General, I was very involved in developing the MENA region and IBRO has already been successful in Africa and South America, but I think we can also be very useful in highpotential countries such as China and India, and I would like to become more familiar with their needs and expectations.
How can IBRO help meet the challenges facing neuroscientists in developing parts of the world? Training is a large part of IBRO’s efforts. IBRO also helps well-trained scientists go back to their home countries and expand upon their competencies in ways that are meaningful for the local needs there. IBRO also works to establish neuroscience competencies and capacity-building in less favored regions by nurturing solid connections between countries with established
neuroscience programs and those with fewer resources. As IBRO’s Ambassador to the World, what are the key messages about IBRO that you most wish to convey? Organizations such as IBRO are a testimony to the fact that science works without borders. Serving as a common language, science can secure a better world and serve as a bridge between different cultures, carrying a message of peace. I really hope the
IBRO meeting in Rio de Janeiro, in 2015, will be a success, and I call upon all the neuroscientists in the world to be there. It’s a different meeting from those taking place in the US, Europe and in the national societies, in that it is truly international with scientists from all over the world, and we should support it as much as we can. The Congress’s excellent International Program Committee will ensure an outstanding program.
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NEWS FROM IBRO’S REGIONS
Asia-Pacific Regional Committee
Chair: Keiji Tanaka, Japan
In the past year, the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee funded the following activities: Schools • Guangzhou, China, March 21-29, 2013. Organized by Sun Yat-sen University (Bin Jiang). • Nan-Tong, China, October 25 to November 1, 2013. Organized by Nantong University (Fei Ding). • Tehran, Iran, October 26 to November 6, 2013. Organized by the Medical School of Tarbiat Modares University (Prof. Saeed Semnanian). Advanced Schools • Clayton, Australia, January 30 to February 1, 2013. Organized by Monash Biomedical Imaging Center, Monash University. • Sunway, Malaysia, September 1-30, 2013. Organized by the Brain Research Institute, Monash University Sunway Campus (Ishwar Parhar). Associate Schools • Bangkok, Thailand, July 29 to August 3, 2013. Organized by Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital (Kanokwan Tilokskulchai). • Islamabad, Pakistan, September 30 to October 4, 2013. Organized by the National University of Sciences and Technology (Touqeer Ahmed). • Varanasi, India, October 19-23, 2013. Organized by the Banaras Hindu University (M. K. Thakur). APRC Exchange Fellowships • Dr. Jitendra Kumar Sinha (National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabac, India). Host: Prof. Margaret Morris (University of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia). • Dr. Touqeer Ahmed (National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan). Host: Dr. Joshua Johansen (RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako, Japan). • Dr. Taskina Ali (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dhaka, Bangladesh). Host: Prof. Saeed Semnanian (Tarbiat Modares University, Iran).
Latin America Regional Committee (LARC)
Chair, Dora Fix Ventura, Brazil
Most of the academic activities promoted and organized by LARC were cosponsored and partially financed by local institutions (universities, research institutes, national research councils, private foundations, etc.) and international scientific organizations. The main activities taking place over the past year are summarized below: Meeting or Workshop • VI Neurotoxicity Society Meeting, “Mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders”: March 21-24, 2013, Valdivia, Chile. • Neuronal Cytoskeleton Workshop 2013; ICGEB-Chile "Second Workshop Emerging Concepts on Neuronal Cytoskeleton”: May 26-30, 2013, Maitencillo, Chile. • First Joint Meeting on Alcohol and Other Drugs of Abuse: from molecules to human disorders: October 16-19, 2013, Concepción, Chile. Schools • VII Latin American Summer School on Epilepsy: Sao Paulo, Brazil, February 17- 26, 2013. Organized by E.A. Cavalheiro. • 2nd Caribbean School of Neuroethology: May 12-25, 2013, Havana, Cuba. Organized by E. C. Mora. Travel Stipends • Four travel grants of 1200 euros each for intra-regional travel to congresses and meetings. • Ten short-stay grants for laboratory visits within Latin America. • PROLAB (launched in 2011 to promote cooperative research by laboratories from Latin American and Caribbean countries and Brazil during two years). This past year, five exchange groups were funded by LARC: (1) “Investigation of the contribution of the visual pathways Drs. Pautassi and Fabio, from Argentina, for the generation of visual evoked presented their poster “Prenatal ethanol potentials using conventional exposure affects learning and extinction methods and pseudo random in adolescent rats” at the First Joint stimulation, in humans,” between Meeting on Alcohol and Other Drugs of Federal University of Pará (Brazil) and Abuse, in Concepción, Chile. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán (Argentina); (2) “Signaling in radialglial cells (Müller and Bergmannglial cells) by neuro- and gliotransmitters,” between Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN (CINVESTAV) (México), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF); (3) “Mitochondrial impairment in astrocytes following traumatic brain injury: potential neuroprotective strategy by hMSCm,” between Federal University of Pernambuco (Brazil), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colômbia), and Federal University of Bahia (Brazil); (4) “Role of the dorsal hippocampal 5- HT1A and 5HT2A receptors in the potentialization of the startle response in CHF and CLF rats,” between Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Universidad de los Andes (Colombia); and (5) “Bioinformatic analysis of the genetic origin of the evolution of the mammal brain with neuronal diversity but non neuronal conservation,” between Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Instituto de Investigaciones en Ingeniería Genética y Biología Molecular (INGEBI), CONICET (Argentina).
In Guangzhou, China, PhD students came from China, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Nepal and Thailand to participate in the IBRO School on the subject of probing the activity of the neural network in the brain.
Africa Regional Committee
Chair: Pierre M.K. Luabeya, Belgium
In the past year, the IBRO ARC sponsored the following professional development activities within the African continent: Regional Meeting: • 11th International SONA 2013 Conference. Rabat, Morocco, June 8-12, 2013. Organized by N. Lakhdar-Ghazal. Symposia & Workshops: • Symposium on cognitive screening and dementia in sub-Saharan Africa: December 4-7, 2012, in Nairobi, Kenya. Organized by R. Kalaria. • Workshop on Peripheral Neuropathies in the Tropics: April 20-23, 2013, in Kinshasa, DRC. Organized by P. Luabeya. • 6th Teaching Tools Workshop: June 7-12, 2013, in Rabat, Morocco. Organizer S. Juliano. • Workshop on “Getting your article ready for submission”: June 9-12, 2013, in Rabat, Morocco. Organized by M. Bentivoglio. • ARC-MENA Symposium on Khat: June 9, 2013, in Rabat, Morocco. Organized by A. Mohammed and M. Al'Absi. • IBRO Workshop on Epilepsy: September 23-24, 2013, in Kigali, Republic of Rwanda. Organized by F. Sebera and M. Perez Arroyo. Schools: • ARC/IBRO/ISN School "Addiction to Drugs of Abuse - From Neurochemical to Pathological Aspects": June 8-12, 2013, in Rabat, Morocco. Organized by N. Lakhdar-Ghazal, R. Butterworth and M. Al'Absi. • 5th IBRO-EFNS Regional Training Course: July 10-13, 2013, in Dakar, Senegal. Organized by A.G. Diop and R.N. Kalaria. • 2nd School on Insect Neuroscience and Drosophila Neurogenetics: August 19 September 8, 2013, in Bushenyi, Uganda. Organized by L. Prieto Godino, S.Yusuf, J.Berni and T. Baden. • IBRO School on Salvaging Neurons – Blending Basic and Clinical Neuroscience: December 2-6, 2013, in Ibadan, Nigeria. Organized by A. Ogunniyi.
IBRO Inter-Regional Program
In 2014, IBRO supported two high-level colleges, bringing together students from more than one region in order to interact at a global level and work collaboratively in the future: • IBRO-Kemali College: RNA & the Etiology of Brain Disease. August 25 - 31, 2013, in Cortona, Italy. Students came from IBRO’s Asia-Pacific, Europe and US/Canada regions. Organized by C. Bagni. • IBRO College: Dynamic Imaging in Neuroscience. December 3-12, 2013, in Valdivia, Chile. Students came from IBRO’s Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. Organized by F. Barros.
Sharon Juliano (USA) leads a workshop session at the 36th IBRO Africa Region Neuroscience School, "Salvaging neurons: blending basic and clinical neuroscience," in Ibadan, Nigeria.
At this hands-on College in Valdivia, Chile, practical activities gave students firsthand experience with techniques they need to know or to implement for their own projects.
NEWS FROM THE REGIONS 2012
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New IBRO Regional Committee Middle East/Northern Africa Chairs Announced Sub-Region (MENA)
Four new regional committee chairs have been appointed this year, responsible for leading their committees in planning and implementing the professional-development and capacity-building activities carried out locally, within their respective region: Dora Fix Ventura has been elected the new chair of the IBRO Latin America Regional Committee (LARC). She is a Full Professor at the University of São Paulo (USP) Institute of Psychology in São Paulo, Brazil, was Vice Dean of the Institute, and was twice Head of the Department of Experimental Psychology there. In addition, she has been a founder, board member and president of several scientific societies. Recently, she was awarded the “Neurociências Brasil” Medal by the Sociedade Brasileira de Neurociências e Comportamento – SBNeC (2010). Pierre Mesu'a-Kabwa Luabeya, Professor of Neurology at the Haute Ecole de la Province de Namur, Belgium, and the Kinshasa University School of Medecine, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has been appointed as the new chair of the IBRO Africa Regional Committee (ARC). One of the founding members of the ARC, Prof. Luabeya is also an active member of the Association pour la Promotion des Neurosciences (APRONES). Through his work with both IBRO and APRONES, Prof. Luabeya has strengthened links with local, regional, international societies of neurosciences, such as the Congolese League Against Epilepsy and the World Federation of Neurology. The IBRO Asia-Pacific Regional Committee has appointed as its new chair Keiji Tanaka, Deputy Director of the RIKEN Brain Science Institute and the Laboratory Head of its Cognitive Brain Mapping Laboratory in Wako, Japan. He has served on the committee of the Human Frontier Research Program (HFSP) for long-term fellow selection, on the Governing Board of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility, and on the organizing committee of the Cold Spring Harbor Asia First Neuroscience Symposium. In 2008 Professor Tanaka was awarded Science and Technology Prize by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and he won the Neuronal Plasticity Prize from the IPSEN Foundation in 2007.
Dora Fix Ventura
Chair: Omar Mukhtar El-Agnaf, United Arab Emirates
Despite political unrest affecting parts of the Middle East and Northern Africa over the past year, causing delays or cancellations of previously planned activities, the MENA Sub-Region supported the following professional development events: • 1st IBRO-MENA Neurogenetics School October 2012, in Tunis, Tunisia. Organized by F. Hentati, O. El-Agnaf and R. Amouri. • Parkinson’s Disease & Related Neurodegenerative Disorders Workshop, March 2013 in Dubai, UAE. Organized by A. Almadani, J. Inshasi, O. El-Agnaf and S. Alrukn. • 6th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in the Middle East, October 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. Organized by M. Emre. • IBRO-MENA Neuroscience Research Symposium & Grant Writing Workshop, November 2013 in Sanaa, Yemen.
United States & Canada Regional Committee (USCRC)
Chair: Sharon Juliano, United States
The IBRO USCRC works to leverage resources from within its region to the benefit of economically challenged and developing regions of the world. Within the past year, the USCRC carried out the following activities: The IBRO Fellows Program: The intent of this program is to identify qualified students in resource restricted countries, especially those who have been to IBRO schools, and provide the opportunity for them to attend an advanced course at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) or Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in the United States. This year, the USCRC supported six students – from India, Cuba, Argentina and Nigeria – to attend courses at MBL. The 7th Canadian IBRO School of Neuroscience: May 13 to May 26, 2013, in Montreal and Toronto, organized by A. Aguayo and E. Cooper. This School, which was held in conjunction with the Canadian Neuroscience Society, supports the view that international neuroscience schools work well in developed countries. Participants included graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, junior staff, and clinician scientists who reside in Kenya, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, and Cuba. This year, the School also had the opportunity to link to the 4th International Congress on Neuropathic Pain. The 6th Teaching Tools Workshop (TTW) – Fundamentals of Neuroscience: June 7 to 12, 2013, in Rabat, Morocco, organized by S. Juliano. The TTW participants engaged in active discussion about how to integrate a program of Neuroscience into their curriculum, how to influence their heads of department, and how to motivate their students and colleagues. Grants from The Grass Foundation and the Society for Neuroscience made possible a special lecture from Michael Boivin (USA) on “Cognitive rehabilitation after severe malaria.”
Pan-European Regional Committee (PERC)
Chair: Juan Lerma, Spain
In the past year, the IBRO PERC sponsored the following professional development activities throughout the continent of Europe: Travel Grants: • PVWEL Travel Stipend Program: Fifteen PhD students from developing countries in Latin America and Africa were awarded travel grants to attend national societies’ meetings and visit local labs on behalf of the French, the Spanish and the Portuguese neuroscience societies. • InEurope (Intra-European Mobility Program): Six PhD students/young postdocs from Western, Central and Eastern Europe were funded to visit European laboratories for up to one month, to acquire new methods or specific techniques that are necessary for their work. Symposia, Workshops and Meetings: • International Meeting – Steroids and Nervous System: Torino, Italy • 1st European Neuroscience Conference by Doctoral Students: Bordeaux, France • 7th European Conference on Comparative Neurobiology: Budapest, Hungary • NEURONUS Meeting: Krakow, Poland • Dopamine 2013: Alghero, Italy • The first 10 years of the Master Program in Neurobiology at the University of Pavia (2003 - 2013): Pavia, Italy • Neurodevelopmental Basis for Health and Disease: Egmon aan Zee, The Netherlands • 7th International Symposium on Experimental and Clinical Neurobiology: Kosice, Slovakia • 17th International Symposium on Chromaffin Cell Biology: Rouen, France • Social Cognitive Neuroscience: Trieste, Italy • European Congress on Visual Perception: Bremen, Germany • Imaging the brain at multiple scales: Lange Sin-Anaastrat, Belgium • FENS Featured Regional Meeting 2013: Prague, Czech Republic • 11th International Congress of the Polish Neuroscience Society: Poznan, Poland • International Summer School for Neuropathology and Epilepsy Surgery (INES): Erlangen, Germany • Spanish Young Investigator Symposium: Oviedo, Spain • SiNAPSA Neuroscience Conference '13: Ljubljana, Slovenia • Current Trends in Biomedicine: Membrane Traffic at the Synapse: Baeza, Spain • Current Aspects in Pathophysiology of Alzheimer's: Braga, Portugal • Applied Neuroscience – Industrial Biotechnologies in Neuroscience: Trieste, Italy
Pierre M.K. Luabeya
Sharon Juliano, of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USA), was recently elected as chair of the U.S./Canada Regional Committee. She has played a vital role in promoting neuroscience education and training in the global community through her organization of workshops and courses in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa, and has also previously served as the Chair of IBRO's Ethics in Research Committee. Professor Juliano has been Sharon Juliano honored with several awards, including the Flexner Award for Outstanding Research (Institute for Neurological Sciences) and the Distinguished Service Medal. In 2012, the Society for Neuroscience presented her with the Award for Education in Neuroscience.
The Regions of IBRO
IBRO's Regional Committees work to create and support education and training programs that are suited to local needs and to promote neuroscience careers for young researchers within each region.
Middle East/Northern Africa Sub-Region
At the 1st International Summer School for Neuropathology and Epilepsy Surgery, held in Erlangen, Germany, funds from IBRO-PERC made it possible for several participants – coming from Croatia, Serbia, Portugal, Brazil and Romania – to attend.
TTW instructor Nilesh Patel assists workshop participants with a computer program designed to assist in teaching the fundamentals of neuroscience.
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IBRO’S SPOTLIGHT ON AFRICA
2013 SONA Conference highlighted neuroscience growth, opportunities in Africa
IBRO – through its Africa Regional Committee (ARC) and several other committees – was a major sponsor of the 11th International Conference of the Society of Neuroscientists of Africa (SONA) Conference. With the theme “Let us change the world by advancing neuroscience research in Africa,” the Conference took place from June 13 to June 17, 2013, at the Faculty of Sciences, Mohammed V-Agdal University in Rabat, Morocco. Speaking at the opening session was Robert Horvitz, Nobel Prize recipient for his work on apoptosis in nematodes. The closing lecture was given by Abdesslam El Khamlichi, who recently received a lifetime nomination as President of Honor of the World Society of Neurosurgery. “This conference marks a step forward in the maturity of the Society by proposing a new vision to modernize the functioning of SONA to meet international standards accepted by all the members of the society,” said Nouria Lakhdar-Ghazal, Chair of the 2104 SONA Conference Organizing Committee, at the Opening Ceremony. “By this investment SONA has been able to attract more than 36 symposium proposals, all of excellent scientific stature, from throughout the world. In addition, attendance at this meeting in Morocco has more than doubled, compared to previous meetings. We can all feel proud that SONA has become an internationally recognized neuroscience society.” In addition to IBRO Central’s financial support of this regional meeting, several IBRO Committees participated in the 2013 SONA Conference: • The IBRO Women in World Neuroscience Committee sponsored a symposium titled “Neuroscience in Africa: A Sample from North, South, East and West Africa.” • The IBRO Alumni Committee hosted a symposium titled “Animal models for therapeutic intervention in neuropathological disorders.” • The IBRO Ethics in Research Committee presented a symposium on “The Ethics of Neuroscience in Africa.” Pre-conference events also sponsored by IBRO included a neuroscience school, a teaching tools workshop, and a writing workshop to aid young African neuroscience investigators in the preparation and submission of scientific manuscripts.
New Writing Workshop for Africans focused on improving chances of getting their research published
To have a successful scientific research career, it’s either publish…or perish. The experience of the IBRO-ARC workshop “Getting Your Article Ready for Submission” – held from June 9 to 12, 2013, in Rabat, Morocco – showed that capacitybuilding initiatives aimed at the preparation and submission of scientific manuscripts to indexed journals are much needed for African neuroscientists. In partnership with the Rita LeviMontalcini Foundation, IBRO held its first workshop specifically dedicated to helping young African neuroscience investigators prepare an article for submission to scientific journals. Organized by Marina Bentivoglio (Italy), the event was one of several satellite events sponsored by IBRO taking place in the vicinity of Rabat, Morocco, leading up to the SONA Congress held there. Along with Professor Bentivoglio, the mentors for this workshop included Roger Butterworth (Canada), Krister Kristensson (Sweden) and IBRO Alumnus Samir Ahboucha (Morocco). According to Professor Bentivoglio, the workshop was very practically oriented, with the aim to prepare final versions of manuscripts already drafted by young African investigators, in order to make articles ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The participating students came from Cameroon, Morocco, DR Congo, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. So far, several students have submitted their manuscripts to scientific journals. One of the articles (submitted by the workshop participant Ismail Ogunbayode Ishola – pictured left, with his mentor Prof. Butterworth – from the University of Lagos, in Nigeria) has been accepted for publication by the NeuroPsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry journal. Upon notification that his article was accepted to be published, he wrote the following to Professor Bentivoglio: “The writing paper workshop was of great help to me. It really changed my art of writing a scientific paper. You and Professor Butterworth deserve so much, as I would not have sent the paper to a journal with this much of an impact factor.”
6th Teaching Tools Workshop: Integrating neuroscience into higher-level education
The 6th Teaching Tools Workshop (TTW) was hosted by University Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco, from June 7-12, 2013, receiving support from the Society for Neuroscience, IBRO and The Grass Foundation. Twenty-six participants attended, who originated from 11 African countries. Organizer Sharon Juliano reported on the Workshop: The teaching program focused on “Fundamentals of Neuroscience.” We presented elements necessary for a basic understanding of Neuroscience: fundamentals of neurons and glia, principles of electrophysiology, selected aspects of sensory and motor processing and function, and limbic system function. The program also devoted time and effort to pedagological principles and discussion of how to teach effectively. Strongly integrated into the program was our focus on the interactive process and involving the student to be actively present during teaching. Also included were interactive activities and laboratories to be conducted in groups.
The final attendance at the 2013 SONA International Conference in Rabat, Morocco, was 269 participants coming from 30 countries, 19 of which were African countries.
IBRO African School focused on addiction to drugs of abuse
Drug use in Africa is rapidly escalating, not only for cannabis and khat, but especially the more dangerous drugs – which are often contaminated – that users can easily purchase. Understanding the dangers of drug abuse and the mechanisms involved in the brain are therefore of critical importance in Africa, where such research is lacking despite the scientific potential that exists there to study the problem. Held from June 8 to 12, 2013, the IBRO African Neuroscience School “Addiction to drugs of abuse: from neurochemical to pathological aspects” opened many possibilities to develop research in this topic in Africa, while its workshops proposed simple methods that could be learned and reproduced locally. Taking place just prior to the SONA meeting in the vicinity of Rabat, Morocco, the School was a joint venture between IBRO and the International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN) on the topic of addiction to drugs of abuse, from basic to therapeutic approaches. The third- and fourth-year PhD students attending the School came from Morocco, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon and South Africa.
We also spent substantial time on discussion of how to teach effectively on the continent of Africa. Although many regions of Africa have excellent technological capability and access to information, there are many that do not. Teachers can be limited by poor resources, such as lack of electricity, minimal availability to technology, poor or intermittent internet access, or extremely large classes. The TTW participants engaged in active discussion about these issues, as well how to integrate a program of Neuroscience into their curriculum, how to influence their heads of department, and how to motivate their students and colleagues. After leaving the Workshop, the students are encouraged to engage their superiors in discussion about curriculum revision. This past year we received many reports that our participants have presented to their department heads with the hope of creating a Neuroscience curriculum in their facility.
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