Meet our Keynote and Plenary speakers

Keynote speaker

Saturday 7 October, 15.15-16.15
Sheena Josselyn, Canada

KL01 — Making and breaking memories

Sheena JosselynSheena Josselyn is a senior scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and a professor in the departments of psychology and physiology at the University of Toronto in Canada. She holds a Canada Research Chair in brain mechanisms underlying memory, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Her undergraduate degrees in psychology and life sciences and a Masters degree in clinical psychology were granted by Queen’s University in Kingston (Canada). Sheena received a PhD in neuroscience/psychology from the University of Toronto with Dr. Franco Vaccarino as her supervisor. She conducted post-doctoral work with Dr. Mike Davis (Yale University) and Dr. Alcino Silva (UCLA).

She received numerous awards, including the Innovations in Psychopharmacology Award from the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CCNP), the Effron Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and the Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences.

Sheena is interested in understanding how the brain encodes, stores and uses information. Her primary model organism is mice. However, several human disorders (ranging from autism spectrum disorder to Alzheimer’s disease) may stem from disrupted information processing. Therefore, this basic knowledge in mice is not only critical for understanding normal brain function, but also vital for the development of new treatment strategies for these disorders.

Plenary Speakers

We will again have six Plenary Lectures as part of the scientific programme. Our confirmed speakers are:

Sunday 8 October, 10.15-11.00
Oscar Marín, United Kingdom
PL01 —  ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award Lecture

Oscar Marín, United Kingdom

ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award

Oscar Marín, United Kingdom, is the recipient of the 2023 ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award, in recognition of his achievements in advancing our understanding of the development of the cerebral cortex and the aetiology of neurodevelopmental disorders.
Read the press release

The ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award recognises exceptional research achievements in applied and translational neuroscience.
The award is granted each year, alternating between pre-clinical and clinical research. The 2023 award is in pre-clinical research.

Sunday 8 October, 16.35-17.20
Deanna Barch, USA
PL02 — Early emergence of mental illness: from brain imaging to emotion regulation

Deanna BarchDeanna Barch is a clinical scientist whose research focuses on understanding normative patterns cognitive function and brain connectivity, as well as the mechanisms that lead to the challenges in behaviour and cognition seen in illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression. Her research uses psychological, neuroimaging and computational approaches.

She is the vice dean of research in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, couch professor of psychiatry and a professor of radiology. Deanna is Deputy Editor at Biological Psychiatry and Editor-in-Chief of Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science. She is also the president of the Psychology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and she is on the scientific boards of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the One Mind Foundation, and the Stanley Foundation. She was on the executive committee of the Association for Psychological Science and the Scientific Council of the National Institute of Mental Health.
Deanna is a fellow of both the Association for Psychological Science and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, a member of the Society for Experimental Psychology, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

She recently spoke about her work to ECNP press officer, Tom Parkhill.
Read the interview

Monday 9 October, 10.15-11.00
Asya Rolls, Israel

PL03 —  The neuro-immune axis: how the brain influences immunity

Asya RollsAsya Rolls is an Israeli psychoneuroimmunologist, an International Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and a professor at the Immunology and Center of Neuroscience at Technion within the Israel Institute of Technology. Rolls leads a lab that explores how the nervous system affects immune responses. Her work has highlighted how the brain's reward system, which is implicated in the placebo response, affects anti bacterial and anti-tumor immunity. More recently, her group discovered that the brain stores representations of past immune experiences and can use them to induce disease, offering new insights into the mechanisms underlying psychosomatic disease.

Monday 9 October, 16.35-17.20
Sergiu Pasca, USA

PL04 — The future of brain region-specific organoids

Sergiu PascaSergiu Pasca, MD is a professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford University and the Bonnie Uytengsu and Family Founding Director of Stanford Brain Organogenesis. He is a NYSCF Robertson Investigator, a CZI Ben Barres Investigator and a Chan Zuckerberg BioHub Investigator.

Pasca is interested in understanding the rules governing human brain assembly and the mechanisms of disease. His laboratory at Stanford introduced instructive signals for reproducibly deriving self-organising neural region-specific organoids and pioneered a modular platform known as assembloids to study migration and neural circuit formation. Pasca systematically applied these cellular models to gain insights into human physiology, evolution and disease, and extensively supported researchers around the world in implementing these techniques.

Pasca was named a Visionary in Medicine and Science by the New York Times, was featured as a physician-scientist by Nature Medicine, and he was a TED 2022 Speaker.

He is the recipient of the 2018 Vilcek Award for Creative Biomedical Promise, the National Institute of Mental Health BRAINS Award (2015), the MQ Award for Transforming Mental Health (2014), the A.E. Bennett Award in Biological Psychiatry (2018), the Folch-Pi Neurochemistry Award (2017), the Günter Blobel Award for Cell Biology (2018), the Daniel E. Efron Award in Neuropsychopharmacology (2018), a Breakthrough in Life Sciences Prize (2020) from Falling Walls, the International Basic Science Schizophrenia Prize (2021), the Joseph Altman Award in Developmental Neuroscience (2021), the Theodore Reich Award (2021), the Judson Daland Prize from the American Philosophical Society (2021) and the 13th IBRO-Kemali Neuroscience Award (2022).

Tuesday 10 October, 10.05-10.50
Peter Goadsby, United Kingdom
PL05 – Brain Prize Lecture – Understanding migraine to develop novel therapeutics: a bench to bedside journey

The Brain Prize

Peter GoasdbyPeter Goadsby FRS is director, NIHR King’s Clinical Research Facility, professor of neurology, King’s College London, an honorary consultant neurologist at King’s College Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond St, London, United Kingdom; and a National Institute for Health and Social Care Research senior investigator. He is professor emeritus of neurology, University of California, Los Angeles. His major research interests are in the basic mechanisms of primary headache disorders, such as migraine and cluster headache, in both experimental and clinical settings, and translating these insights into better management.

The world’s largest brain research prize is awarded annually by the Lundbeck Foundation. Each year, they award 10 million DKK (approx. 1,3 million EUR) to one or more neuroscientists who have made a ground-breaking impact on brain research. The Brain Prize was first awarded in 2011 and has so far honoured 38 scientists from 8 different countries. More info

Tuesday 10 October, 14.00-14.45
Kafui Dzirasa, USA
PL06 — Transforming mental illness through technology

Kafui Dzirasa

Kafui Dzirasa completed a PhD in neurobiology at Duke University. His research interests focus on understanding how changes in the brain produce neurological and mental illness. Kafui obtained an MD from the Duke University School of Medicine in 2009, and he completed residency training in general psychiatry in 2016.

In 2016, Kafui was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the nation’s highest award for scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers. In 2017, he was recognized as 40 under 40 in Health by the National Minority Quality Forum. He was induced into the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2019, and the National Academy of Medicine in 2021.

Kafui has served as an associate scientific advisor for the journal Science Translational Medicine, a member of the congress-mandated Next Generation Research Initiative, the Editorial Advisory Board for TEDMED, and on the NIH Director’s guiding committee for the BRAIN Initiative. Kafui is an associate professor at Duke University with appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Neurobiology, and Biomedical Engineering.