ECNP e-news
Message of the President
Tuesday 28 June 2022

ECNP President Gitte Moos Knudsen

A new journal for a field on the move

Translational neuroscience is difficult, but also highly needed. ECNP’s history exactly charts the advances made in the complex process of turning fundamental discoveries into new treatments.

When ECNP started 35 years ago, the field was defined by pharmacotherapy, mostly serendipitously discovered medicines which focused on a fairly narrow range of mechanisms. Despite a general awareness of the biological basis of brain disorders, diagnostic systems and treatment strategies for psychiatric disorders remained firmly rooted in symptomatology.

In 2022, pharmacotherapy remains fundamental, but the field is also growing and evolving. It’s not just that whole new areas of research interest have sprung up, but that the way we think about the science of brain disorders has changed. A quick survey of some of the recent EU projects ECNP has been involved in makes the point:

  • PRISM2 is exploring how commonalities of social dysfunction can open a window on the neurobiology connecting schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and major depression.
  • PRIME is examining the role of insulin-related signalling mechanisms in the multimorbidity of somatic and brain diseases.
  • REALMENT is using machine learning to number crunch European-scale datasets in order to develop prediction and stratification algorithms that can be used for personalised psychiatric treatment.
  • Eat2beNICE is looking at how lifestyle, nutrition, genetics and gut microbes combine to affect mental health.
  • Conect4children is building an integrated European-wide platform for paediatric clinical trials.
  • AIMS-2-TRIALS is searching for the biomarkers for autism that will pave the way for new treatments.
  • SEROTONIN&BEYOND examines serotonin-mediated non-serotonergic downstream changes in neurodevelopment.

What these projects exemplify is our expanding understanding of the multidimensionality of neuropsychiatric illnesses, and the corresponding need for multidisciplinary approaches that transcend the barriers between psychiatry, neurology and psychology. This turn towards applied neuroscience, and the transnosological ways of thinking that come with it, have driven ECNP’s scientific strategy for the last decade, implicit in everything from our Networks initiative and Neuroscience-based Nomenclature (NbN) project to our annual Digital Health Meeting and successive ECNP Congress and educational activities.

Our next major step in this direction is the founding of a new gold open access journal, Neuroscience Applied. Joining our existing journal, European Neuropsychopharmacology, Neuroscience Applied is fully ECNP owned and will provide an important new vehicle for the expanding remit of ECNP’s translational mission, as well as offering a critical new platform for the ECNP community. We believe there is no other journal that so precisely fills these needs.

I strongly encourage you to add the Neuroscience Applied manifesto to your summer reading list. If you’re still reading my message now, applied and translational neuroscience matter to you, and hence the journal and its scope mean something! We very much hope you’ll support the journal, and help us to make it a key voice in the field. If you’d like to become involved by submitting a paper or penning a response to the manifesto, let us know!

Gitte Moos Knudsen
ECNP President

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