Plenary Lectures

We had six Plenary Lectures as part of the scientific programme. These sessions had a duration of 45 minutes, were livestreamed and available for in-person and online participants. 

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.

Early in life adversities and mental illness: from molecular mechanisms to biomarkers
Annamaria Cattaneo, Italy
Sunday 3 October, 15.00-15.45

Annamaria CatteneoAnnamaria Cattaneo is Assistant Professor at the University of Milan and she is also heading the Laboratory of Biological Psychiatry, at the IRCCS Fatebenefratelli Institute, where she is coordinating different projects aimed at the identification of early predictors of risk for the development of mood disorders and biomarkers of treatment response. She is particularly interested in evaluating how stress early in life as well as exposure to depression in utero can shape the brain trajectory versus an enhanced vulnerability status. Recently she has also focused the attention on the gut microbiome as link between the environment, the immune system and brain functionality. She has more than 90 publications in PubMed, leading to SCOPUS H-Index = 35, and more than 2500 citations.
She received several Awards including the British Psychopharmacology Association Award in July 2017, the Award for Young Investigator Scientist at the ECNP Conference and the Rafaelsen Young Investigator’s Award. She is Member of the CINP Awards Scientific Committee Member; Member of the Scientific Advisory Board Panel, European College of Neuropsychopharmacology; Member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of the Swiss Consortium on the Gut Microbiota and Alzheimer’s disease, University of Geneva, Switzerland. She has also been Review panel member for ERC grants. Annamaria Cattaneo is also leading several national and international grants, including a FRRB grant on Depression in pregnancy; a Ministry of Health grant to target the inflammatory system in non-responder patients by using minocycline as adjuvant therapy; H2020 grant (RLINK) on the identification of biomarkers of response to Lithium in patients with Bipolar Disorder and a h2020 grant (EarlyCause) on the identification of mechanisms associated with exposure to early life stress and with the development of metabolic and mood disorders; an Alzheimer Association grant on the identification of the role of the gut microbiome in influencing the inflammatory system and brain functioning in patients with Alzheimer disease.

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).

Dissecting genetic overlap between mental disorders and traits
Ole Andreassen, Norway
Monday 4 October, 15.00-15.45
Ole Andreassen
Ole Andreassen is Professor in psychiatry at the University of Oslo, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, and attending psychiatrist, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway. He did his PhD in psychopharmacology at University of Bergen and his post doc training in neuroscience at Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Medical School where he investigated mechanisms of neurodegeneration. He did his psychiatry residency in Oslo, and is the Director of Norwegian Centre for Mental Disease Research (NORMENT), one of the largest mental health research groups in Scandinavia. The centre has a translational research approach and applies clinical and neurocognitive, brain imaging phenotypes and molecular genetics tools to identify causes and underlying pathophysiology of severe mental disorders. Prof. Andreassen builds his research on the Nordic advantages, such as public health care system, large biobanks, health registries and homogenous population, and has developed a biostatistical, big data program to improve our understanding of etiopathology of mental disorders forming the basis for future precision psychiatry approaches.

Brain Prize Lecture - Genetics and signaling mechanisms of migraineBrain_Prize_2018
Jes Olesen, Denmark
Tuesday 5 October, 15.00-15.45
The Brain Prize Lecture is generously supported by a grant from the Lundbeck Foundation.
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.

Jes Olesen is one of the winners of the 2021 Brain Prize, the world’s largest brain research prize, awarded annually by the Lundbeck Foundation. Each year 10 million DKK (approx. 1.3 million EUR) is awarded to one or more neuroscientists for a ground-breaking impact on brain research. The Brain Prize was first awarded in 2011 and has so far honoured 34 scientists from nine different countries.

For more information about The Brain Prize and 2021 winners, click here.