Editor-in-Chief: Aideen Sullivan
Affiliation: University College Cork, Ireland
Biography: Aideen Sullivan is a Professor in Neuroscience at University College Cork (UCC). Her research programme is focused on neuroprotective approaches to the treatment of Parkinson's disease. She has particular expertise in neurotrophic factors, which can reverse the dopamine neuronal degeneration which occurs in Parkinson's disease. A major aim of her research is to elucidate signaling pathways used by dopaminergic neurotrophic factors, and to develop modulators of these, using in vivo and in vitro models. She also investigates non-motor and cognitive symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, using preclinical models and clinical research.
Aideen has a BSc in Pharmacology (University College Dublin) and a PhD in Neuropharmacology (University of Cambridge). She was a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College, London, then appointed as a Lecturer in Anatomy and Neuroscience at UCC in 1998. There, she was Academic Director of the BSc in Neuroscience until 2017. She developed a BSc in Medical and Health Sciences at UCC, of which she is Academic Director. Aideen is passionate about public outreach of science, mentoring of students and colleagues, and promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education.
Affiliation: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Biography: George J. Augustine is a Professor in Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University. He founded the Center for Functional Connectomics at KIST (Seoul, Korea), where he currently serves as Director. He also is a member of the Programme in Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and is a former member of the Department of Neurobiology at the Duke Medical School in the USA, where he was the G.B. Geller Professor of Neurobiology. Professor Augustine is well-known for his studies of brain synaptic mechanisms. His laboratory has shown that neurotransmitter release is triggered by a remarkably local calcium signal, has identified the roles of many proteins involved in neurotransmitter release, and has also identified the role of calcium ions and other chemical signals in transducing brief neuronal activity into long-lasting change in brain function. His group has also developed novel optogenetic technologies and is applying these to study brain circuit function.
Affiliation: Queensland Brain Institute, Australia
Biography: Associate Professor Timothy Bredy received his PhD from McGill University in 2004 and completed postdoctoral training at UCLA. In 2009, he established the Cognitive Neuroepigenetics laboratory within the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland. Tim’s work spans the fields of epigenetics and neuroscience focusing on multiple aspects of neuroepigenetics and memory, with significant discoveries implicating a role for a variety of molecular mechanisms including histone modification, DNA modification, small and long non-coding RNA, and RNA modification in experience-dependent plasticity in the adult brain.
Affiliation: University of Helsinki, Finland
Biography: Eero Castrén is currently Academy Professor at the Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki, Finland. He received MD and PhD degrees in Finland and has been working at the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, USA, Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Martinsried, Germany and the Department of Neuroscience and Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York and Universities of Kuopio and Helsinki in Finland. His research has focused on the effects of neurotrophic factors, particularly the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor on the adult brain and their role in neuronal plasticity and in the mechanism-of-action of drugs acting on the central nervous system. His research has revealed a critical role of experience-dependent neuronal plasticity in the mechanism of antidepressant drug action. Professor Castrén was a Director of Neuroscience Center between 2013 and 2017, and held an ERC Advanced Grant in from 2013 to 2018. He is currently Secretary General of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS).
Affiliation: Columbia University, USA
Biography: Christine Ann Denny, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Neurobiology in Psychiatry at Columbia University and a Research Scientist V in the Division of Systems Neuroscience at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She received a BS from Boston College in 2005, an MS from Boston College in 2006, and her PhD in Biological Sciences from Columbia University in 2012, where she investigated the impact of adult hippocampal neurogenesis on behaviour in the laboratory of Dr René Hen. After receiving the NIH DP5 Early Independence Award, she started her own laboratory in 2013 at Columbia University. Dr Denny studies the neural basis of learning and memory in disease states, such as in depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, she created an activity-dependent tagging murine line, the ArcCreERT2 mice, which allows for the permanent labelling of individual memories. In addition, Dr Denny’s laboratory is developing small-molecule compounds to protect against stress.
Affiliation: National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Biography: Dr Eilís Dowd’s research is focused on developing and validating novel pharmacological, cell, gene and biomaterial therapies for Parkinson’s disease. She received her PhD at the University of Edinburgh, UK, after which she completed postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge, UK, McGill University, Canada and Cardiff University, UK. She then returned to her home country of Ireland in September 2005 to take-up a tenured position as Lecturer in Pharmacology at National University of Ireland, Galway. Dr Dowd is currently President of Neuroscience Ireland, Ireland’s official neuroscience society, and President of the Network for European CNS Transplantation and Restoration (NECTAR), and she sits on the Governing Councils of both the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO).
Affiliation: University of Arizona, USA
Biography: Dr Rajesh Khanna, Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, is an expert in ion channel biology and voltage-gated calcium and sodium channels regulated by novel protein interaction. With almost 100 publications, Dr Khanna’s ground-breaking research focuses on disrupting pathological protein-protein interactions with biologics and small molecules, testing their activity, examining protein interaction signatures, and regulating protein networks to modulate ion channel activity in neurodegenerative diseases (chronic pain, migraine, and neurofibromatosis). Most recently Dr Khanna’s laboratory has leveraged these pain network data discoveries to understand the mechanism of sodium and calcium channel trafficking by the CRMP2/NaV1.7 and CRMP2/CaV2.2 complex, the basis for the patented Regulonix technology platforms. Dr Khanna earned his PhD in Physiology from the University of Toronto, where he also obtained his MS in Pharmacology and a BS in Toxicology. Prior to joining the University of Arizona, he conducted postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA in Physiology and Molecular Biology, and at the Toronto Western Research Institute in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Additionally, he has received grant support from the NIH (NINDS, NIDA, NCI), the US Department of Defense, and the Children’s Tumor Foundation for his laboratory’s work. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, American Society for Pain and the American Society for Neurochemistry, and is a grant reviewer for several leading organizations worldwide.
Jee Hyun Kim
Affiliation: University of Melbourne, Australia
Biography: Dr Jee Hyun Kim is a behavioural neuroscientist, whose work focuses on emotional learning and memory during childhood and adolescence. Dr Kim completed her undergraduate degree at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), graduating with the prestigious University Medal in Psychology. After completing her PhD in Psychology at UNSW, Kim continued in research as a postdoctoral research fellow at UNSW, followed by the University of Michigan. Dr Kim then gained a position as a Senior Research Officer at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health, before becoming head of the Developmental Psychobiology Laboratory at the institute. Dr Kim is the youngest laboratory head at the Florey. Dr Kim's research shows that the acquisition and retrieval of fear memories is different across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Dr Kim was also the first to demonstrate that fear memories can be permanently erased early in life. Her research uses preclinical paradigms to model human behaviours in order to understand the neurobiological basis of learning. Specifically, her work investigates the role of memory and forgetting in the development and treatment of two major mental disorders across childhood and adolescence: anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorder.
Affiliation: Cardiff University, UK
Biography: Professor Meng Li is the Chair in Stem Cell Neurobiology at the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHIR) at Cardiff University. Professor Li studied Medicine, followed by a MSc in Immunology at Peking University in China and a PhD in Stem cell biology and mouse genetics from the University of Edinburgh. The primary research interest of Professor Li’s laboratory is to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal subtype specification of pluripotent stem cells and during mammalian development. This research has contributed to the advance in understanding pluripotent stem cell (PSC) neural fate conversion and dopaminergic fate specification of PSCs and during normal mammalian development. Recent research has extended interest into GABAergic cortical interneurons, a complex group of cells which dysfunction has been implicated in neuropsychiatric diseases and epilepsy.
Affiliation: University of Texas Health Science Center, USA
Biography: Professor Lodge’s laboratory is interested in better understanding the mechanisms underlying psychiatric disease with the goal of developing novel therapeutic approaches. His laboratory have utilized a number of different approaches including optogenetics, in vivo electrophysiology, behavioural and molecular methods. Using such an approach, they have identified a key pathology in schizophrenia, specifically a loss of interneuron function in the ventral hippocampus. Professor Lodge’s laboratory are currently investigating the utility of stem cell derived interneuron transplants in rodent models of schizophrenia and autism.
Affiliation: University College London, UK
Biography: Clare Stanford is Professor (Emerita) of Translational Neuropharmacology at UCL, where she studied for a BSc in physiology. Her research has concentrated on preclinical neuropharmacology and psychopharmacology, in vitro and in vivo, but has also included several human studies. She carried out postgraduate research in the University Laboratory of Physiology, Oxford, investigating neurochemical mechanisms underlying the regulation of noradrenergic transmission in the brain and periphery. She was awarded a Postdoctoral Scholarship and then a faculty position to continue this work, during which time she was appointed as the first woman Fellow at Exeter College, Oxford. On moving back to UCL, she developed an interest in the role of monoamine neurotransmitters in the modulation of mood and behaviour, especially in respect of the pharmacology of antidepressants, anti-obesity agents and psychostimulants. She is a member of the [A(SP)A] Animal Science Committee and a Trustee of the British Pharmacological Society and the Laboratory Animal Science Association and a Past President of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and Laboratory Animal Science Association.