ECNP in depth: interviews

ECNP in depth is a series of interviews with key people in the field, looking at their work and what it says about the future of applied neuroscience. We hope you enjoy them.

May 2024

Siri Leknes, Norway
Siri Leknes, Norway
Siri Leknes is a professor of social and affective neuroscience at the University of Oslo, Norway, and senior researcher at Oslo University Hospital. She completed her D.Phil. at Oxford, United Kingdom, and postdoctoral research at Gothenburg University, Sweden. Siri Leknes will present the Plenary Lecture, How opioids shape our feelings: sorting facts from myths at the 37th ECNP Congress on Monday 23 September 2024 in Milan, Italy. She spoke to ECNP Press Officer Tom Parkhill.

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March 2024

Steffen Thirstrup, Denmark
Steffen ThirstrupSteffen Thirstrup is the chief medical officer at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in Amsterdam. He is on the programme committee of the 2024 ECNP New Frontiers Meeting on 17-18 March in Nice and also helped design the 2023 ECNP New Frontiers Meeting on psychedelics. Here he is interviewed by ECNP press officer Tom Parkhill.

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October 2023

Vibe Frokjaer, Denmark
 Vibe FrokjaerVibe Frokjaer is associate professor at the Department of Neurology and the Neurobiology Research Unit at the Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, and the Mental Health Services in the Capital Region of Denmark. Vibe’s scientific focus is the brain architecture of risk for neuropsychiatric disorders, in particular mood disorders. At the 36th ECNP Congress in Barcelona she will chair a session on ‘Hormonal contraceptives, brain function, and depression’. She spoke about the session to ECNP Press Officer, Tom Parkhill.

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July 2023

Sheena Josselyn, Canada
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. 
She will present the Keynote lecture, ‘Making and breaking memories’ at the 36th ECNP Congress in Barcelona, on Saturday 7 October. She recently spoke to ECNP Press Officer Tom Parkhill.

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June 2023

Asya Rolls, Israel
Asya RollsAsya Rolls is a psychoneuroimmunologist at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, where she leads a laboratory which 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-tumour immunity. She will present a plenary lecture, ‘The neuro-immune axis: how the brain influences immunity’, at the 36th ECNP Congress in Barcelona. She recently spoke to ECNP Press Officer, Tom Parkhill.

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May 2023

Deanna Barch, USA
Deanna BarchDeanna Barch is the chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Gregory B. Couch Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition, she is deputy editor at Biological Psychiatry and editor-in-chief of Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science. At the 36th ECNP Congress in Barcelona, she will give a plenary lecture entitled ‘Early emergence of mental illness, from brain imaging to emotion regulation’. She recently spoke about her work to ECNP press officer, Tom Parkhill.

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April 2023

Martien Kas, The Netherlands
Martien Kas Martien Kas took over as the president of ECNP at the 35th ECNP Congress in Vienna in October 2022. He is professor of behavioural neuroscience at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In this interview, he spoke to ECNP press officer Tom Parkhill about his hopes for the College for the next few years.

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February 2023

Stephen Brannan, USA
Stephen BrannanStephen Brannan MD is the chief medical officer at Karuna Therapeutics in Boston, Massachusetts. At the 35th ECNP Congress in Vienna he presented the phase 3 results from the EMERGENT-2 trial, ‘KarXT (xanomeline–trospium) in patients with schizophrenia: results from a phase 3, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial’. The presentation generated significant interest.

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October 2022

Michael Eriksen Benros, Denmark
Michael E. BenrosMichael Eriksen Benros is professor of immuno-psychiatry in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen, head of biological and precision psychiatry at the Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Copenhagen University Hospital, and co-chair of the ECNP Immuno-NeuroPsychiatry Network. A specialist in immuno-psychiatry, biological psychiatry, epidemiology and precision psychiatry, at the ECNP Congress in Vienna he spoke on ‘Covid-19 and consequences for mental health and cognition’ (S16.03).

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Kim Kuypers, the Netherlands
KIm KuypersKim Kuypers is an associate professor in the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. Her research focuses on the neurobiology underlying flexible cognition, empathy and well-being.
At the ECNP Congress in Vienna she presented on the biological and cognitive effects of small doses of a psychedelic in a session she co-chairs with ECNP president Gitte Moos Knudsen (S03 – Towards personalised psychedelic applications: understanding its treatment success, Saturday, 15 October, 16.50-18.10).

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August 2022

Felice Jacka, Australia
Felice JackaFelice Jacka OAM is Professor of Nutritional Psychiatry and Director of the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University. She has pioneered and led a highly innovative program of research that examines how individuals’ diets interact with the risk for mental health problems.
She presented the Plenary Lecture 'Nutritional psychiatry – where are we going?' at the 35th ECNP Congress, 15-18 October 2022, Vienna, Austria.

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June 2022

Carmine Pariante, United Kingdom
ECNP Congress - Plenary Lecture: Carmine Pariante
Carmine Pariante is professor of biological psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and consultant perinatal psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.
He will present the Plenary Lecture ‘Stress and perinatal mental health – from mechanisms to clinical practice’ at the 35th ECNP Congress, 15-18 October 2022, Vienna, Austria.

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September 2021

Ed Bullmore, United Kingdom
Ed BullmoreEd Bullmore is currently professor of psychiatry, director of the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre, and deputy head of the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge.
He presented the Plenary Lecture 'Inflamed depression' at the 34th ECNP Congress Hybrid, 2-5 October 2021, Lisbon, Portugal.

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August 2021

Christina Dalla, Greece
ECNP Congress speaker Christina DallaChristina Dalla is associate professor of psychopharmacology at the Department of Pharmacology in the Medical School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. At the 34th ECNP Congress Hybrid she spoke on 'Sex differences in neuropsychopharmacology of depression: effects of stress and neuroestrogens' during the S.02 entitled 'Beyond neurosexism: sex and gender as crucial biological variables in brain disorders', taking place on Saturday 2 October 2021, 16.15-17.35.

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June 2021

Ray Dolan, United Kingdom
Ray Dolan Ray Dolan is the Mary Kinross Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Director of the Max Planck-UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS). In 2017 he won the 2017 Brain Prize, along with Peter Dayan and Wolfram Schultz. He gave the Keynote Lecture 'How we build internal models of the world' at the 34th ECNP Congress Hybrid on Saturday 2 October 2021, 18.15-19.00 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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May 2021

Carmen Sandi, Switzerland
Carmen Sandi
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 presented a plenary lecture, entitled 'A metabolic nexus between anxiety and low motivation', at the 34th ECNP Congress Hybrid on Sunday 3 October 2021, 11.15-12.00 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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April 2021

Ellen Leibenluft, USA
Ellen Leibenluft

Ellen Leibenluft, M.D., is Senior Investigator and Chief of the Section on Mood Dysregulation and Neuroscience at the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health near Washington DC.

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August 2020

Élisabeth Tournier-Lasserve, France
Brain Prize Lecture – Genomics of vascular dementia and stroke - Professor Elisabeth Tournier-Lasserve
Élisabeth Tournier-Lasserve, along with Marie-Germaine Bousser, Hugues Chabriat and Anne Joutel, was awarded the 2019 Brain Prize for their outstanding research on the most common hereditary form of stroke, CADASIL (Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy).
She presented the Brain Prize Lecture 'Genomics of vascular dementia and stroke' on 13 September, 13.00-13.30 during the 33rd ECNP Congress Virtual.

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Guy Goodwin, UK
Guy Goodwin
Guy Goodwin, DPhil, FMedSci, is currently a research fellow and former WA Handley Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. His research interests are in the treatment of bipolar disorder and the application of neuroscience in understanding the neurobiology of mood disorders, with a focus on developing new treatments.
He took part in the Brainstorming Session 'Can we successfully re-medicalise the #psychedelics?' on 15 September, 13.00-13.30 during the 33rd ECNP Congress Virtual.

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July 2020

Julianne Holt-Lunstad, USA Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhDJulianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, USA. Her research is focused on the long-term health effects of social connection and has been seminal in the recognition of social isolation and loneliness as risk factors for early mortality. She presented the plenary lecture 'The meta-analysis on loneliness' at the 33rd ECNP Congress Virtual, 12-15 September. Read the interview Silke Matura, Germany
Silke MaturaSilke Matura is a researcher at the Klinik für Psychiatrie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie Klinikum der J.W.Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt, Germany. She spoke at the 33rd ECNP Congress Virtual, 12-15 September 2020 as part of the symposium 'Mediterranean diet, probiotics and micronutrients: can they improve mental health?' The PROBIA study is part of the Eat2beNICE project, which is an EU-funded research consortium that studies the connections between gut microbiota, diet, and exercise to formulate nutrition and lifestyle recommendations for brain health. ECNP is one of the partners that supports the Eat2beNICE project. Dr Matura talked to ECNP press officer Tom Parkhill about the PROBIA project and how it aims to look at the effect of probiotics on mental health. Read interview

October 2018

Eric Hollander, USA

Eric_HollanderEric Hollander is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Director of the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Program, and the Anxiety and Depression Program, at Montefiore Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York, USA).

He served as Chair of the DSM-V Research Planning Agenda for Obsessive Compulsive Behavior Spectrum Disorders, and as a member of the DSM-V Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum, Post-Traumatic and Dissociative Disorders Workgroup, and the Behavioral and Substance Addictions Workgroup. He has published more than 500 scientific publications as well as having edited 20 books.

During the 31st ECNP Congress, Professor Hollander spoke on the topic of pharmacological treatment of resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) during an educational update session dedicated to the topic.

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July 2018

Marion Leboyer, France

Marion LeboyerMarion Leboyer has been a contributing author on hundreds of scientific papers published over the course of her career, alongside writing several books. She is no stranger to accolades either, having received the Inserm Prize for Public Health Research in 2002, the Foundation for Medical Research’s Jean Bernard Prize for Research in 2007, and the Mogens Schou Award for Research on bipolar disorder in 2011 by the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD).

She was the 2018 winner of the ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award, and she delivered her award lecture at the 31st ECNP congress on the topic of precision medicine in psychiatry.

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Tim Hahn, Germany

Tim HahnTim Hahn is Group Leader of AI Development at the Translational Psychiatry Lab of the University of Münster, Germany. He is working to build predictive models to support differential diagnosis, and to determine individual patient risk and treatment response. Addressing these central issues of personalised medicine in psychiatry has been made possible by the continuing evolution of big data and machine learning methods.

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He discussed this topic during his symposium at the 31st ECNP Congress.

February 2018

Florence Thibaut, France

Florence ThibautFlorence Thibaut is a psychiatrist and endocrinologist, currently professor of psychiatry at the University Hospital Cochin-Tarnier of Paris-Descartes University (France). Her research interests are varied and include addiction, schizophrenia genetics, and paraphilia.

An investigator in many clinical and pharmaceutical studies, she is also past-president of both the French Association for Biological Psychiatry (AFPB) and the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP).

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In 2017, Florence Thibaut was a chair and a speaker at one of the sessions S.18 (Behavioural addictions: diagnosis, co-morbidity and neurobiology) in the 30th ECNP Congress. You can also view the webcast of her presentation.

In this video, she talks about what ECNP Congress means to the scientific community. She also talks about her work in the field of schizophrenia for several years and her advice to junior scientists. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel of ECNP.