Plenary Lectures

We will again have plenary lectures as part of the scientific programme. Our confirmed line-up:

Inflamed depression
Ed Bullmore, United Kingdom

Ed 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.

Chronic irritability in youth: what we know and what we need to know
Ellen Leibenluft, USA
Ellen LeibenluftEllen Leibenluft, M.D. is Senior Investigator and Chief of the Section on Mood Dysregulation and Neuroscience at Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Leibenluft’s research involves the use of cognitive neuroscience techniques and neuroimaging modalities, including functional MRI, to elucidate brain mechanisms mediating severe irritability in youth and to use that knowledge to suggest novel treatment interventions.

Dr. Leibenluft completed her B.A. from Yale University summa cum laude, her M.D. from Stanford University, and psychiatric residency at Georgetown University. She has authored more than 300 publications and served as Reviews Editor for Biological Psychiatry, Deputy Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and editorial board member of the American Journal of Psychiatry. She is Co-Chair of the American Psychiatric Association DSM-5 Steering Committee. Her honors include election to the National Academy of Medicine, the NIMH Director’s Merit Award, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Julius Axelrod Mentoring Award.

From anxiety to motivation – A metabolic nexus
Carmen Sandi, Switzerland
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 Owen, United Kingdom
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.