The IBRO Kemali Foundation



About the Foundation

The IBRO Dargut and Milena Kemali Foundation for Research in Neurosciences was established to promote research in the field of Basic and Clinical Neurosciences. It was founded in 1996 by Dargut Kemali, a renowned psychiatrist at the University of Naples in Italy, and by the will of his late wife Milena Agostini Kemali (1926-1993).

Convinced that brain research is a high priority in the science of our times, Dargut Kemali had long been interested in the biological foundations of mental diseases and was one of the founders of “Biological Psychiatry” in Italy. Milena Kemali was a skilful neuroscientist who focused on the frog brain, identifying, among other findings, an asymmetry of the habenulae that has inspired debates on the evolution of lateralization in the brain.

“Both Dargut and Milena strongly believed in the impact of the neurosciences in the modern world,” explains former IBRO Secretary General Marina Bentivoglio. “Born in a Turkish family in Libya, Dargut studied and worked at the University of Naples. A strong believer in building bridges across cultures, scientific approaches – especially across the Mediterranean Basin – for both progress and peace, Dargut’s legacy fully matches IBRO’s mission.”

With the passing of Dargut Kemali in December 2011, IBRO assumed the responsibility of continuing the legacy of the Foundation. According to Dr. Kemali’s wishes, Dr. Carlos Belmonte, IBRO President at that time, became Chair of the Foundation and confirmed that the IBRO Kemali International Prize for Research in the Field of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience (held in even-numbered years) and the IBRO Kemali Neuroscience School (held in odd-numbered years) would continue as before.

The Foundation is committed to perpetuating the memory and wishes of its founders and extending cultural bridges through science between continental Europe and non-European Mediterranean countries.

“Professor Kemali was a real friend to neuroscience, and we will miss him deeply,” said Dr. Belmonte. “He was very passionate about bringing the best and brightest young neuroscientists together, no matter their regional origin, to form friendships that would allow them interact at a global level and work collaboratively in the future.”




  • to increase scientific interaction between and among basic and clinical research groups
  • to establish and improve relations to research centres and patient advocacy groups
  • to establish contacts and exchanges between institutes, universities and academies encompassing both Italian and foreign organisations
  • to promote, with its patronage, conventions and congresses, also in collaboration with the Italian Society of Neurosciences and the Italian Society of Biological Psychiatry


The IBRO Kemali International Prize for Research in the Field of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience



The IBRO Dargut and Milena Kemali International Prize for Research in the field of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience is awarded every two (even) years to an outstanding researcher, under the age of 45, who has made important contributions in the field of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience. Currently, the prize amounts to 25,000 Euros, and the prize winner is invited to give a featured lecture at the FENS Forum of Neuroscience, the largest international neuroscience meeting in Europe, held every two years on even years. Prize Recipients

The IBRO Kemali Prize has been awarded to Tamas F. Freund (1998), Robert Malenka (2000), Daniele Piomelli (2002), Cornelia I. Bargmann (2004), Patrik Ernfors (2006), Massimo Scanziani (2008), Jonas Frisén (2010), Eleanor Maguire (2012), Patrik Verstreken (2014), Casper Hoogenraad (2016) and Guillermina López-Bendito (2018).


The IBRO Kemali School



The IBRO Kemali Mediterranean School of Neuroscience Program was launched in 2009 to provide top-level education in neuroscience and reinforce the network of collaboration and friendship between young, promising neuroscientists from all sides of the Mediterranean basin. Its focus is on excellence and it aims to support the most promising young researchers from the region. The most recent and fifth IBRO Kemali School focused on “Brain Connectivity and Connectomics” and was held in Rabat, Morocco, in September 2017.