Plenary Speakers


Patrick Haggard


Patrick Haggard trained at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.  His initial research interests focussed on the behavioural patterns and neural mechanisms of human motor control.  Since 1995, he has been a member of academic staff at University College London, where he leads the "Action and Body" research group at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.  His recent publications focus on the relation between subjective experience and neural activity in sensorimotor cognitive neuroscience, with particular focus on volitional action, and bodily awareness.  He was awarded the Prix Jean Nicod in 2016, and the Evens Foundation Science Prize in 2017.  He was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2014, and received the Chaire Blaise Pascal in 2018.

Could there be a neuroscience of volition

"The capacity to act volitionally, of one's 'own free will', is sometimes considered a distinguishing feature of the human nervous system, and the subjective experience that our actions are "up to us" is certainly a normal part of healthy adult cognition.  At the same time, volitional action seems continuous with a range of 'executive' cognitive functions, whose neural bases have been revealed in studies of both human and animal brains.  This lecture explores what, precisely, is meant by voluntary control of behaviour, and investigates the neural mechanisms that underpin both endogenous actions, and the characteristic experience associated with such actions".


Richard Morris


Richard Morris is Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh and was, until recently, Director of the Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems. He read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, and did his D.Phil at the University of Sussex. His early career included a period helping to build an exhibition at the Natural History Museum and a stint working for BBC Television ("Tomorrow's World"). He also served, by secondment, as Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust from 2007 to 2010, where he helped to set up the new Sainsbury-Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at University College London and a new research charity MQ:Transforming Mental Health. His longstanding research interest has been in the neurobiology of cognition, particularly the role neuronal plasticity in memory formation. Most recently he was a co-recipient with Tim Bliss and Graham Collingridge of the international Brain Prize (Lundbeck Foundation, Copenhagen).  He was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1997 and the Academy of Medical Sciences (1999), and of both the American Academy of Arts and Science and Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 2004. He was appointed CBE in 2007.

"The making and keeping of memory"

Some issues:

1.    We make new memories effortlessly through the day selectively forgetting many but not all of them quite quickly.
2.    It follows that memory encoding must be distinct from memory consolidation.  Memory encoding may take place simultaneously in hippocampus and neocortex, but the resulting traces are transient to start off with.
3.    There are grounds for thinking that memory consolidation can be subdivided into an initial or 'cellular' process (in which protein synthesis has been implicated for initial stabilisation) and a later 'systems' process in which new information is assimilated into associative networks, most likely through hippocampal/neocortical interactions.  Reconsolidation might also be considered as a form of updating or assimilation.



Christine Heim


Prof. Christine Heim is the Director of the Institute of Medical Psychology at Charité. She is also a Member of the Cluster of Excellence NeuroCure at Charité in Berlin as well as Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on understanding the biological mechanisms that underlie the link between childhood trauma and increased risk for developing a range of psychiatric and medical disorders across the lifespan. With this research, she hopes to derive novel pathophysiology-driven targets for the prevention and intervention of disorders related to early-life stress. The impact of her work is acknowledged in more than 20,000 citations. She is the recipient of several honors and awards, including the 2004 Chaim Danieli Young Professional Award of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, the 2007 Curt P. Richter Award of the International Society for Psychoneuroendocrinology, and the 2015 Patricia Barchas Award in Sociophysiology of the American Psychosomatic Society. She is an elected member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. She was appointed to the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. She is the recipient of multiple federal grants and foundation grants, and she serves on national and international scientific review committees regarding research on consequences of childhood trauma.

Understanding and Mitigating the Impact of Early-Life Adversity on Disease Risk: Towards Developmental Programming of Lifelong Health

Adversity in early life, such as childhood abuse, neglect and loss, is a well-established major risk factor for developing a range of psychiatric and medical disorders later in life. Biological embedding of maltreatment during development is thought to underlie this long-term increased risk. Our results suggest that childhood trauma in humans is associated with sensitization of the stress response, glucocorticoid resistance, decreased oxytocin activity, inflammation, reduced hippocampal volume and changes in cortical fields that are implicated in the perception or processing of the abuse. The consequences of childhood trauma are moderated by genetic factors and mediated by epigenetic changes in genes relevant for stress regulation. Understanding trajectories of biological embedding, and their moderation by gene-environment interaction, is critical to enable us to design novel interventions that directly reverse these processes and to derive biomarkers that identify children who are at risk to develop disorders or are susceptible to a specific intervention. Such advances will promote personalized care based on risk profiles and will inform targeted interventions to mitigate the adverse outcomes of early-life stress and promote lifelong health.  


Giovanni Marsicano


CB1 signaling in the brain: the where matters 




Carmen Sandi


Carmen Sandi is a Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she heads the Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics. She did her PhD at the Cajal Institute in Madrid and postdoctoral work in the Universities of Bordeaux (France) and Open University (UK). She has contributed with pioneering work to the field of ‘Stress, brain and behavior” and to the understanding of the mechanisms that mediate individual differences in vulnerability to stress. Currently, her lab has a strong focus on elucidating the role of brain mitochondria and metabolism on anxiety, motivation and stress coping behaviors. She has published over 180 research articles and contributed to various books. She has received prestigious prizes –including the recent Ron de Kloet Stress Prize for Stress Research 2018– and serves in several academic, industrial and editorial boards. She was the director of the Brain Mind Institute at the EPFL from 2012-2019, and it is currently co-Director of the Swiss National Center of Competence in Research Synapsy and co-Director of the She was the President of the European Brain and Behavior Society (EBBS), and is currently council member of the European Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society (EMCCS) and the President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS).

Blaming brain mitochondria and metabolism for our behavioral ‘weaknesses’ under stressful challenges

Individuals show remarkable differences in their respective levels of behavioral energy displayed when confronted with stressful challenges. Emerging evidence points at mitochondrial function and metabolism in specific cell types and brain areas as critical determinants of the selection of either active versus passive stress coping responses. These findings will advance our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie vulnerability to develop psychopathologies, such as anxiety disorders and depression.


Inga D. Neumann


Prof. Dr. Inga D. Neumann was born in Jena, a city of Thuringia in the former Eastern Germany, and studied biology at the University of Leipzig. She finished her PhD in 1991 and spent 2 years as a postdoctoral fellow in Calgary, Canada, based on a HFSPO stipend.
Afterwards she worked as a senior scientist at the Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry in Munich. In 1997, after birth of her second son, she finished her “Habilitation” at the LMU in Munich, and continued as a Heisenberg fellow of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. In 2001 she was appointed as a Full Professor of Physiology/Neurobiology at the University of Regensburg. Her main scientific interests are the neuropeptidergic regulation of anxiety- and depression-related, and social behaviours including social fear, aggression and maternal behaviour, as well as of stress responses. Another focus is the molecular and neuronal mechanisms underlying the effects of neuropeptides after intracerebral release. She is Director of the Graduate School of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft “Neurobiology of Emotion Dysfunction”, and speaker of the Themenverbund “Aggression and Violence in Culture and Nature” at the University of Regensburg founded in 2010. At present, she serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Biology and Preclinical Medicine of her University in Regensburg, Germany.

Aggression, stress and social fear: Neuropeptide modulation of socio-emotional behaviour

Inga D. Neumann
University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany

The neuropeptide oxytocin currently attracts enormous scientific interest due to its capacity to modulate various behavioural and physiological responses both in humans and rodents. Besides the well-established anxiolytic and anti-stress effects, brain oxytocin is essential for naturally occurring social preference behaviour, and reverses stress-induced social avoidance or even social fear as studied in a mouse model of social fear-conditioning. However, its involvement in the regulation of aggression seems controversial, and sex-dependent effects are likely. Novel techniques, such as chemogenetic or optogenetic manipulation of oxytocin neuronal activity and oxytocin signaling within distinct brain regions, have furthered our understanding of the precise neuronal mechanisms underlying these behavioural effects.


Tessa Roseboom


Tessa Roseboom is a Professor of Early Development and Health at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her work focusses on the impact of the early life environment on growth, development and health throughout life. Her studies in the Dutch famine birth cohort provided the first direct evidence in humans that maternal nutrition during gestation affected offspring´s and potentially grand-offspring’s health ( Her current research focuses on the fundamental biological processes that underlie ‘developmental programming’ and on translation to current pregnancies, in developed and developing settings. These studies include observational and experimental studies of the long term consequences of lifestyle interventions before and during pregnancy (, obstetric interventions, hyperemesis gravidarum, and assisted reproduction techniques. The ultimate aim of her work is to contribute to improved human health by giving each child the best possible start in life.

How early life experience shapes brain and behavior

Teaser: Prof Rosebooms studies of men and women born around the time of the Dutch famine have provided the first direct evidence in humans to show that the environment during the earliest stages of human development shape the brain and have lasting consequences for health and wellbeing of individuals and thereby also affect society as a whole. In her lecture she will address the lessons learned from these historical studies and translate them to the world we live in today. Investing in early human development will be crucial for achieving better health and wellbeing for future generations.





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Meeting Secretariat: C-IN, 5. kvetna 65, 140 21 Prague 4, CZE | tel.: +420 261 174 301 | fax: +420 261 174 307
Home | Sitemap | | Copyright © 2018
Powered and created by E-WORKS - web studio | XHTML 1.0 | CSS 2