IBRO Global Neuroscience Horizons Webinar 3
Neuroscience & COVID-19

26 July 2021 | 16:00 – 17:30 CEST (Central European Summer Time)
Free and open to all
Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_AAuYwg5LSXmG-Cr3NaABKA

Organized by the IBRO Pan-Europe Regional Committee (PERC), the third IBRO Global Neuroscience Horizons Webinar will focus on Neuroscience & COVID-19. Attendees will have the opportunity to receive an e-certificate of attendance. The webinar will be recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel. Learn more about our chair and speakers below. We look forward to welcoming you!

This is the third episode of our Global Neuroscience Horizons Webinar Series. Click to watch the first episode ‘Society journals – Supporting the success and growth of the global neuroscience community‘ & the second episode ‘Translational Neuroscience & novel therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases in the Asia/Pacific region’.

Prof. Fabio Blandini

Scientific Director
IRCCS Mondino Foundation, National Institute of Neurology
Professor of Pharmacology
University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

Fabio Blandini is an MD with full training in neurology and a specialization in clinical biochemistry. He is currently Scientific Director of the IRCCS Mondino Foundation, National Institute of Neurology – a research hospital funded by the Italian Ministry of Health based in Pavia – and full professor of pharmacology within the Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Pavia. He is chair of the Pan-Europe Regional Committee (PERC) of the International Brain Research organization and member of the European Brain Council. His main research interests include the pathogenesis, pathophysiology and therapeutics of neurodegenerative diseases, with a specific focus on Parkinson’s disease.

Webinar Speakers (in order of appearance)

Professor Roxana Carare

Professor of Clinical Neuroanatomy, Equality and Diversity Lead
University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Title of the talk
The neuropathological complications of COVID-19

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes viral pneumonia, with neurological disturbance commonly reported, and SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in post-mortem brain tissue. These central nervous system (CNS) effects seem to be worse in Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities (BAME). The spectrum of pathological changes includes: ischaemic toxic encephalopathy, acute cerebrovascular accident, encephalitis, meningitis, myelitis, Guillain–Barre syndrome, demyelinating lesions. One working hypothesis is that SARS-CoV-2 enters the CNS by binding to ACE2 while transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) is important for the entry of virus into cerebro-vascular cells, resulting in exacerbation of the coagulation cascade. A clear insight into the pathophysiology of the CNS manifestations of COVID-19 that predispose to stroke will shed light on potential therapeutic targets related to ACE2/TMPRSS2 for COVID-19.

Professor Roxana Carare qualified in Medicine in Bucharest in 1994. During her basic clinical training, she became fascinated by anatomy and completed her PhD in experimental neuropathology in 2006, at the University of Southampton, UK. She was appointed lecturer in 2001, associate professor in 2014 and full professor of clinical neuroanatomy in 2016. The main international recognition for Roxana Carare has come from the interdisciplinary research she leads, investigating pathways for communication of cerebrospinal and interstitial fluids of the brain, relevant to drug delivery to the brain and to the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease. With over 110 peer reviewed publications in the field and an H index of 35, Roxana is a member of the UK Medical Research Council Dementia Platform UK Vascular Experimental Medicine committee and on the UK government advisory committee for the effects of pollution on the brain. The Carare team has won prestigious awards, including a Dementia Research Leader award from Alzheimer’s Society UK. Roxana has served as Co-Chair for The International Alliance of Women Alzheimer’s Researchers in Alzheimer’s Association, is a member of the Scientific Committee for Alzheimer’s Association, academic committee for the British Neuropathological Society, Rainwater Foundation, serves as an expert for several international grant funding boards and as consultant for ROCHE, ALCYONE and ALNYLAM.

Professor Alexei Verkhratsky

Professor of Neurophysiology
Manchester University, Manchester, UK

Title of the talk
The Role of Glia and Neuroinflammation in the Neuropsychiatric and Neurological Aspects of COVID-19

SARS-CoV-2, which causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, has a strong brain neurotropism by binding to the receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 expressed by neurones and glial cells, including astrocytes and microglia. Systemic infection which accompanies severe cases of COVID-19 also triggers substantial increase in circulating levels of chemokines and interleukins that compromise the blood-brain barrier, enter the brain parenchyma and trigger reactive astrogliosis and microgliosis. Glial responses and long-term glial remodelling define neurological presentation and outcome of COVID-19.

Professor Alexei Verkhratsky, PhD, D.Sc, Member of Academia Europaea (2003), Vice-President of Academia Europea (2016), Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2013), Member of Real Academia Nacional de Farmacia of Spain (2012), Member of Polish Academy of Sciences (2017), Corresponding Member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (2019), is an internationally recognised scholar in the field of cellular neurophysiology, best known for his contributions to our knowledge of the physiology and pathophysiology of neuroglia.

Dr. Livio Provenzi
Twitter: @LivioProvenzi

Senior researcher
IRCCS Mondino Foundation, National Institute of Neurology
Pavia, Italy

Title of the talk
The hidden pandemic: Psychobiological footprints of pandemic-related stress in pediatric populations

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge and a global traumatic event. Here, the mental health consequences of pandemic-related stress are highlighted for different pediatric populations. The results of the longitudinal and multi-centric MOM-COPE project will provide evidence of the behavioral and epigenetic consequences of pandemic-related stress in pregnant women and their infants. Pandemic-related stress may increase the risk of mental health problems in mothers and behavioral dysregulation in infants at least partially through altered profiles of DNA methylation in target stress-related genes. Furthermore, relevant emotional stress has been reported by parents of children with developmental disabilities who still were able to benefit from tele-medicine approaches to child healthcare. Finally, the effects of COVID-19-related stress on adolescents’ mental health will be highlighted. Taken together, these contributions highlight how the pandemic may be leaving biological footprints that challenge pediatric physical and psychological health. Implications for healthcare services will be discussed.

Livio Provenzi is a psychologist, psychotherapist, and researcher. He has a PhD in Psychology and a specialty in psychodynamic psychotherapy. He is a senior researcher at the Child Neurology and Psychiatry Unit of the IRCCS Mondino Foundation in Pavia, Italy. He teaches Developmental Psychobiology in the MSc in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Human Sciences of the University of Pavia. In 2021, he received the International Young Investigator Award from Acta Paediatrica for his research on the application of behavioral epigenetics to the study of early stress exposures in very preterm infants. His research focuses on the establishment of precocious synchronicity in human interactive development and on the psychobiological markers of stress and care in at-risk infants and children.