Plenary Lectures

We will again have Plenary Lectures as part of the scientific programme. These sessions have a duration of 45 minutes, will be livestreamed and available for in-person and online participants.
Our confirmed line-up:

ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award Plenary Lecture – Oxytocin: new faces of an old peptide
Valery Grinevich, Germany
Monday 4 October, 11.15-12.00 

 2021 ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award Valery GrinevichValery Grinevich obtained his MD in 1992 (Kursk State Medical University, Russia) and PhD in 1996 (Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint-Petersburg). As a postdoc, he worked with leading experts in neuroendocrinology, such as Georges Pelletier and Ferdinand Labrie (Quebec), and Greti Aguilera (NIH) focusing on neuroendocrine mechanisms of the stress response. In 2003, he was appointed as a full Professor at the Russian State Medical University (Moscow), but, instead, joined the group of Peter H. Seeburg as a postdoc in the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research Heidelberg. In 2008, he established his group and in 2012 – the Independent Schaller Group on Neuropeptides in Heidelberg. During the last decade, his team deciphered a novel mechanism of neuropeptide signaling in the brain: axonal oxytocin release modulating brain region specific behaviors. His laboratory was supported by the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation, a number of German and European Agencies, and by the Human Frontier Science Program, in which he acted as a coordinator. In 2019 he has been promoted as Full University Professor (W3) and Chair of Department of Neuropeptide Research in Psychiatry at Central Institute of Mental Health of the Heidelberg University and Affiliate Professor at the Georgia State University, Atlanta, USA.

Read here the press release.
For more information on the ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award please click here.


Inflamed depression
Ed Bullmore, United Kingdom
Tuesday 5 October, 11.15-12.00
Ed BullmoreEd Bullmore MB PhD FRCP FRCPsych FMedSci trained in medicine at the University of Oxford and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London; then in psychiatry at the Bethlem Royal & Maudsley Hospital, London.
He moved to Cambridge as Professor of Psychiatry in 1999 and is currently Director of the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre, and Head of the Department of Psychiatry; from 2021, he will be Deputy Head of the School of Clinical Medicine. He is also an honorary Consultant Psychiatrist and Director of R&D in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Foundation NHS Trust.

From 2005 to 2019, he worked half-time for GlaxoSmithKline, as VP Experimental Medicine, latterly focusing on immuno-psychiatry, as described in his best-selling book “The Inflamed Mind” (2018). He has published more than 500 scientific papers and has been highly cited (Google h-index 171).
He has been elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS); he has also served as Treasurer of the AMS since 2018.


A metabolic nexus between anxiety and low motivation
Carmen Sandi, Switzerland
Sunday 3 October, 11.15-12.00
Carmen Sandi is a Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), where she leads the Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics at the Brain Mind Institute for which she was the Director from 2012-2018. She is also co-Director of the Swiss National Center of Competence in Research Synapsy and founder and co-President of the Swiss Stress Network.

She is a world leader in the field that connects stress with brain function and behaviour. Her laboratory adopts an integrative research program in rodents and humans, and places a strong emphasis on understanding the neurobiology of individual differences. A current strong focus of her studies is on the role of mitochondria and metabolism in brain, behaviour and psychopathology.

Carmen Sandi has published over 200 research articles and contributed to various books. She has received numerous awards and honours, including the Ron de Kloet Prize for Stress Research in 2018, honour of Valkhof Chair at Radboud University, Visiting Professor at Rockefeller University and a Distinguished Visiting Scientist Fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She has served in several boards and societies, having being President of the European Brain and Behaviour Society (EBBS) and is currently member of the executive council of the European Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society (EMCCS) and EBBS, President of the Cajal Advanced Neuroscience Training Programme (2020-2022), and is the Immediate Past-President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS).

The nature of schizophrenia
Michael J. Owen, United Kingdom
Monday 4 October, 15.00-15.45
Michael Owen is a Professor of Psychological Medicine (Psychiatry) in the School of Medicine and Emeritus Director of the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics and the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute. He has worked on the genetics of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders for over 25 years having extensive research expertise in the genetic aspects of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's disease, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For the past 10 years, he also worked on psychiatric and cognitive outcomes in children at high genetic risk, particularly those carrying structural chromosomal abnormalities.

Michael Owen studied the impact of genetic risk factors across diagnostic boundaries and developed a theoretical framework to understand the relationship between different neurodevelopmental disorders. He has also identified specific genes and sets of proteins involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, which are potential therapeutic targets.

As well as continuing his work on psychiatric genetics, Michael Owen currently undertakes research aimed at translating recent genetic findings into a greater understanding of disease mechanisms and into the development of novel biomarkers to aid classification and diagnosis.

Brain Prize Lecture - Genetics and signaling mechanisms of migraineBrain_Prize_2018
Jes Olesen, Denmark
Tuesday 5 October, 15.00-15.45
Jes Olesen
Jes Olesen is a professor of neurology at the University of Copenhagen and a chief physician at the Danish Headache Center, Rigshospitalet Glostrup, Copenhagen, Denmark. Jes Olesen is the father of the International Headache Classification and has identified several signaling mechanisms in migraine leading to new drug targets and registered drugs. He was born in Denmark, studied at the University at Copenhagen and defended his doctoral thesis on human brain blood flow there. His neurological education included a residency at Cornell Medical School, New York, and a volunteer period at the National Hospital Queen Square, London. He founded and for many years led the Danish Headache Center where he is still an attending physician.

In his thesis he showed for the first time in humans that physical activity increased blood flow in the relevant brain area. The relation between brain function and brain blood flow has subsequently developed to an avenue of science but Jes Olesen did not pursue that path. Instead he first showed that cortical spreading depression is the likely physiologic mechanism of the migraine aura. Next, he developed a human provocation model and showed the crucial importance of nitric oxide, calcitonin-gene related peptide and pituitary adenylate cyclase activating peptide in migraine mechanisms. Likewise, an increase in second messengers cyclic guanylyl monophosphate and cyclic adenylyl monophosphate activated migraine mechanisms. More recently he continues his work in animal models of migraine and in the exploration of migraine genetics. Along with his scientific work he has also initiated and chaired the International Classification of Headache Disorders and has been the prime mover organizing the European Federation of Neurological Society and the European Brain Council.