Plenary lectures

Continuing a successful formula, at our last congresses, we had again six plenary lectures as part of the scientific programme. Our line-up:

ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award lecture - Brain oxytocin and the socio-emotional balance: from sex to chemogenetic manipulation
Inga Neumann, Germany
ECNP_NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY_AWARDBorn in East Germany, study of Biology at the Karl-Marx-University of Leipzig, GDR, PhD in Neurobiology on the release and physiological significance of oxytocin and vasopressin in the brain; postdoctoral HFSPO fellow at the University Medical School in Calgary, Canada, 1992-1994; Senior scientist at the Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, 1994-2001; Heisenberg fellow of the DFG 1997-2001; Full Professor of Neurobiology and Animal Physiology at the University of Regensburg, Germany;
Research Focus on brain neuropeptides (oxytocin, vasopressin, CRF, NPS) and their role in social behaviours (maternal, aggressive, pair-bonding, social preference behaviours), and emotional as well as neuroendocrine stress responses (anxiety, depression, social fear; HPA axis) studying relevant animal models (rat, mouse).
Read here the press release.
For more information on the ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award please click here.

How early is too late? Possibilities for prevention and early intervention in psychosis
Merete Nordentoft, Denmark
Merete NordentoftMerete Nordentoft is Professor in Psychiatry, University of Copenhagen. She played a leading role in developing and implementing early intervention services in Denmark. An expert in epidemiology, suicidal behaviour, psychopathology and early intervention in psychosis, she has led the process from research to implementation of early intervention services all over Denmark. Professor Nordentoft has worked with suicide prevention at a national level since 1997 and together with a group of epidemiologists from Nordic countries, she has demonstrated that life expectancy for people with schizophrenia is 15 to 20 years shorter than in the general population. She is one of the six principal investigators in iPSYCH, the Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrated Psychiatric Research.

Merete Nordentoft initiated the Danish High Risk and Resilience Study VIA 7 - a representative cohort study of 522 7-year-old children with 0, 1, or 2 parents with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Professor Nordentoft was given the prestigious awards: The Golden Scalpel, Global Excellence in Health, the Richard Wyatt Award, the Marie and August Krogh Award, and the Honorific Award from the Danish Medical Association. In 2017, she was identified as one of the one percent most cited researchers in the period 2005-2015.

She was the president of International Early Psychosis Association (IEPA) from 2012 to 2014, and since 2017 she was a board member of Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS).

Applications and interpretations of genomics in schizophrenia
Michael O’Donovan, UK
Michael O’Donovan Michael O’Donovan is Professor of Psychiatric Genetics, and Deputy Director of the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University. He obtained degrees in Physiology, and then in Medicine at Glasgow University in the 1983, and a PhD in Molecular Pharmacology in 1993 at Cardiff University. He is a trained Psychiatrist, obtaining membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1987, and then a Fellowship of that organization in 1999. He has been working in psychiatric genetics since 1993, and has over 500 peer reviewed publications in this area spanning schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s Disease and Pharmacogenetics. He is an active member of several groups of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, and is the Chair of the Schizophrenia Working Group of the PGC.

Novel therapeutic principles against CNS disorders
Sarah Tabrizi, UK
Sarah Tabrizi Sarah Tabrizi graduated in biochemistry, then medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1992. She has worked on research into neurodegenerative diseases since her PhD as an MRC clinical training fellow at UCL. After clinical training, she obtained a DH National Clinician Scientist Fellowship in 2002 to work on protein misfolding at UCL. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Neurologist in 2003, and to Full Professor in 2009. In 2016, she founded the UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre where she is currently the Director, and was appointed Joint-Head of the UCL Department of Neurodegenerative Disease in 2017. Her research focuses on understanding the basic cellular mechanisms of neurodegeneration, in particular Huntington’s disease (HD), and finding effective disease-modifying treatments. She was the PI of TRACK-HD and Track-On HD, major international research initiatives aimed at understanding the neurobiology of the neurodegenerative changes in premanifest and early stage HD gene carriers. She was global clinical PI on the world’s first gene silencing study for HD using anti-sense oligonucleotide therapy, sponsored by Ionis pharmaceuticals, the safety study for which successfully completed in December 2017. Sarah co-founded the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for HD in 2010, and was elected a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014. In 2017 she received the seventh Leslie Gehry Brenner Prize for Innovation in Science awarded by the Hereditary Disease Foundation, and was appointed as a Principal Investigator at the UK Dementia Research Institute Hub.

Brain Prize lecture - Genomic clues to neurodegenerative disease mechanisms
John Hardy, UK
John HardyHardy received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Leeds in 1976 and his PhD from Imperial College London in 1981 for research on dopamine and amino acid neuropharmacology. Following his PhD, Hardy did postdoctoral research at the MRC Neuropathogenesis Unit in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and then further postdoctoral work at the Swedish Brain Bank in Umeå, Sweden where he started to work on Alzheimer's disease.
He became Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at St. Mary's Hospital, Imperial College London in 1985 and initiated genetic studies of Alzheimer's disease there.[8] He became Associate Professor in 1989 and then took the Pfeiffer Endowed Chair of Alzheimer's Research at the University of South Florida, in Tampa in 1992. In 1996 he moved to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, as Consultant and Professor of Neuroscience. He became Chair of Neuroscience in 2000 and moved to National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, Maryland, as Chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics in 2001. In 2007 he took up the Chair of Molecular Biology of Neurological Disease at the Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies, University College London. On 29 November 2015, he was awarded the Breakthrough Prize. In 2018 he was jointly awarded the Brain Prize from Lundbeck.

Bridge to psychological treatments

Catherine Harmer, UK
Catherine-HarmerCatherine Harmer is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University Department of Psychiatry in Oxford. She directs a multidisciplinary team of researchers in the Psychopharmacology and Emotion Research Lab (PERL) using a variety of techniques such as fMRI, MEG, TMS, psychopharmacological challenge techniques and neuropsychological assessments. Her work has led to the novel idea that antidepressants may work by rapidly resolving negative affective bias in depression which leads to gradual improvements in mood, social dysfunction and other key symptoms of depression over time. This concept has stimulated new research approaches for the treatment of depression with implications for stratification of treatment, early prediction of therapeutic response and identification of novel therapeutic targets. Catherine Harmer has been awarded prizes from the British Association for Psychopharmacology and the Royal College of Psychiatrists for this research and is the 2013 recipient of the AE Bennett award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry.