Plenary lectures

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

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.