In This Circular: President COVID-19 | Journals | Alumni | Open Grants | Community News 

Welcome from the President

Welcome to our first addition of the IBRO Circular and start of the 2020 Brain Awareness Week #BrainWeek #BrainAwarenessWeek! We are excited to share news and highlights of IBRO activities, and to promote the tremendous successes in neuroscience research and training happening around the globe. IBRO is working hard to increase our visibility and impact, and we are currently working on developing our Strategic Plan 2020 to establish the framework by which current and future leadership will leverage priorities and maintain alignment with IBRO’s mission.

To examine our strengths and weaknesses as an organization, we will be conducting an External Review of IBRO, obtaining expert input to ensure we can continue to be the model for efficient, impactful and transparent support of international brain research and training.

As we also just celebrated International Women’s Day 2020 #IWD2020 #EachforEqual, it is an excellent opportunity to encourage our membership to keep active awareness and role in inclusion and equality, locally and globally. While we’ve made significant advances in many areas related to gender balance, we still have much work to do to ensure our young female scientists perceive they have a seat at the table and that their voices are heard. We have an additional challenge in front of us for ensuring underrepresented groups are also part of the conversation. Through inclusion and diversity, we stand to gain so much in elevating neuroscience research and training. We are better when we are all at the table.

Stress is escalating in the current global climate as our awareness of and responses to the COVID-19 outbreak and its significant impact on how we work and travel becomes more apparent. IBRO recognizes this challenge, and we are following the news progression closely. We respect the recommendations and assessments of the World Health Organization and adhere to regional, national and local government policies being developed and implemented in response to changing conditions. As the situation is actively evolving, we encourage our global community to be guided by the same approach.

In addition, we want to promote a compassionate and respectful environment for all our members and their communities. Please be patient and kind to each other during this exceptionally stressful time. It our responsibility as academics to consider the impact our expectations on our trainees and employees has not only their health risk, but on that of the broader communities we live in. As devoted and hardworking as scientists typically are, we must still consider that we are not above or outside the risks that this virus has placed on us.

We must all do our part, too. For some labs, this means that research has been ground to a halt by institutional mandate. For others, this has been left up to the lab and is a very difficult decision. None of knows what lies ahead nor how long this will all last. Across the U.S. where I work, we are beginning to experience the same challenges as other countries. We are struggling with the impact of the virus and anticipating what measures are necessary, impactful, and preemptive. Often, our leaders are not clear with the messaging and we are combing social media and other news outlets trying to determine which policies and actions are most effective.

As President of IBRO, I feel it is my responsibility to remind all of our members around the globe that this is a critical time for us all, and that we must adhere to policies and procedures set forth by our respective governments. In addition, please remember that we are all part of the solution, and that adhering to the best advice we’ve seen yet, that of social distancing, we can save lives by reducing the healthcare system burden of seriously ill patients.

Right now, my lab at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine has gone to a shared work day schedule to reduce the number of individuals who are working at one time thereby reducing the social interactions, allowing some to come in early and others to come in late. Those who are writing papers, analyzing data, or who have regular interactions with a vulnerable family member are working from home. We’re doing everything we can to help and support each other, and still do our part to increase social distancing as best we can. You and your lab members may not be part of the vulnerable population, however, it is all of our responsibility to reduce the spread and protect those who are.

Tracy L. Bale
IBRO President

IBRO recognizes the global impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, and we are following its progression closely. We respect the recommendations and assessments of the World Health Organization and adhere to regional, national and local government policies being developed and implemented in response to changing conditions. Because the situation is actively evolving, we encourage our global community to be guided by the same approach. You can find our full statement, resources, and updates on postponed or cancelled schools and activities on our website here.
2019 IBRO Neuroscience Cover Competition Winner

IBRO is delighted to announce that our 2019 Neuroscience Cover Competition Winner is Dr. Francesca Arese Lucini from the Benjamin Levich Institute for Physico-Chemical Hydrodynamics and Physics Department at the City College of New York. She explains the research behind her winning cover image on our flagship journal Neuroscience:

For our research, we modeled the transition from conscious to unconscious human state for several brain functional networks. The dissolution of the brain portrayed in the image is thought to give the idea of the transition studied; starting with a fully active brain, the conscious state, some areas of the brain are inhibited leaving just a smaller region of the brain active, the subliminal state. This transition has been modeled by using k-core percolation on the conscious network.

We found that the unconscious state is the inner subset of the conscious network. Furthermore, by inhibiting the set of neurons that belong to the external shells of the conscious network, one is left with the most resilient part of the network, called the maximum k-core, which features the set of neurons responsible for unconscious human behavior.

These findings shed light on any future mathematical modeling on human brain, requiring future theory on consciousness to consider the core of the conscious network to be identified with the subliminal state.

IBRO Reports is our Open Access journal which publishes papers describing the results of original research on any aspect of the scientific study of the nervous system. It welcomes preliminary, descriptive and small-scale results if they have the potential to stimulate and/or contribute to future research, leading to new insights or hypotheses. The primary criterion for acceptance is that the work is original, scientifically and technically sound, and valuable to the advancement of neuroscience research. We will also consider for publication any article that is methodologically sound, including negative data. Replication studies and re-analysis of previous datasets, when justified with a scientifically sound rationale, are also welcomed. Come publish your research with us!
IBRO Alumni
Dr. Ignacio Cancino, a 2015 IBRO Return Home Fellow, recently published an article, The Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase Receptor Delta Regulates Developmental Neurogenesis, in Cell Reports that was partially funded by our fellowship. We thought now would be a great time to catch up with him for a quick Q&A.

Dr. Cancino was working at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, when he was awarded the IBRO Return Home Fellowship to set up a lab at the Universidad Mayor in Santiago in his home country of Chile. He started his own group in March 2017 at the Center for Integrative Biology at Universidad Mayor.

Sana El Hajji is an IBRO alumna and current PhD student in Neuroscience at the Centre de Recherche du CHUM in Canada. Participating in the 11th IBRO-USCRC Canadian School of Neuroscience helped her in her career. Watch her video here. 
LARC PROLAB: Two young research groups, one in Brazil and one in Uruguay, connected through an IBRO-LARC Short Stay Grant and the IBRO-LARC PROLAB program. This new collaboration resulted in the publication, “CD300f immunoreceptor is associated with major depressive disorder and decreased microglial metabolic fitness” in PNAS.

The paper, which was part of Fernanda Kaufmann’s Ph.D. thesis in the Biochemistry Graduation Program at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, came out of a collaboration between Dr. Manuella P. Kaster’s group at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, in Brazil, and the group of Dr. Hugo Pellufo at the Pasteur Institut and UDELAR in Uruguay.

They discovered that a prevalent single-nucleotide polymorphism of the human CD300f immune receptor alters its signalling and is associated with protection against MDD in women but not in men. Interestingly, CD300f-deficient female, but not male, mice displayed depressive-like behaviours.

In these mice, the absence of CD300f induced phenotypical changes of microglial cells that altered their metabolic fitness. Despite the high incidence of MDD, no effective treatments are available in many cases, and these discoveries could lead to the development of new pipelines for drugs targeting microglial cells, perivascular macrophages, and in particular the CD300f immune receptor.
Open Grants
Find updated information on our grants and activities below:

Open Grants:

Annual Grants Calendar:

General Information about all grants: 

Community News from Members & Partners 
Australasian Neuroscience Society

Greetings from the Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS)!  As a peak body of Neuroscience in Australia and New Zealand since 1980, our popular annual meetings have attracted up to 1100 attendees.  This year marks the Society’s 40th Anniversary, and we welcome you to join us in Perth, Western Australia, Dec 8th-11th, for a celebration of neuroscience featuring Nobel Laureate Edvard Moser, national and international speakers, our trade industry partners, and a vibrant public programme.

Ageing and Dementia Research Group

Sixth International Workshop on Food and Brain Health – Muscat Oman

The Sixth International Workshop on Food and Brain Health was held at the Sultan Qaboos University, Oman on 11-12 November 2019. The workshop, organized by the Food Science and Nutrition Department and the Ageing and Dementia Research Group aimed to create awareness on impact of food and nutrition on brain health. There were 13 international speakers and 12 local speakers who shared their work on a wide range of topics; from the definition, cause and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive impairment, to research findings on dietary practices and their unique role on health.

British Neuroscience Association

Discover a whole new field in just one day!

As part of our role as host society for FENS 2020, the British Neuroscience Association is running a range of introductory courses prior to the Forum on 10th July 2020. 

From chemogenetics to psychiatric disorders to credibility in neuroscience (and more), these courses represent a unique opportunity to explore a whole new field of neuroscience. Meeting with experts and expanding knowledge and skills in neuroscience research.

Register at:

Chinese Neuroscience Society 

The Symposium for Chinese Neuroscientists Worldwide is a biennial meeting that provides a forum for Chinese neuroscientists worldwide to present and discuss research in all areas of neurosciences. The 11th SCNW will be held in Hangzhou from 2 – 5 July 2020.
European Society for Neurochemistry 

ESN is happy to announce the following forthcoming meetings:

  • Mini-Conference “Molecular mechanisms of cognitive impairment and intellectual disability”, July 11, 2020, in conjunction with the FENS Forum in Glasgow.
  • 24th ESN Biennial Meeting and 8th Conference on “Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Regulation in the Nervous System”, May 23-26, 2021, Saint Petersburg, Russia

For more information please visit

Federation of European
Neuroscience Societies

Expand your scope at the FENS Forum 2020!
The FENS Forum 2020 will open with two new session types to allow delegates to reflect on their vision of neuroscientific research. The Brain Debate 2020 will focus on the value and merits of studying a broad range of organisms to investigate brain function and behaviour. The Mini Conferences, organised by invited member societies and partner organisations, will address a wide variety of topics, ranging from neuroeconomics to behavioural neuroscience.

Registration for the FENS Forum open.

Abstract submission for Neuroinformatics 2020 is open!

Join neuroscience researchers, software developers, infrastructure providers, and industry to discuss the latest developments in FAIR neuroscience.

Submit your research latest March 31 in one of the following topics: Informatics for brain modeling, Science gateways and reproducible computing, Collaborative neuroscience knowledge building tools, Large-scale databasing and mega-analyses, Knowledge infrastructure, Data standards and reproducibility, Machine learning and data mining, or Novel analytics for clinical data.

Korean Society for Brain and
Neural Sciences

We welcome you to the 23rd Annual meeting of the Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences between 27th- 28th of August, 2020 at Swiss Grand Hotel, Seoul, Korea. World-renowned experts, including Dr. Edward Boyden and Dr. Okihide Hikosaka as plenary lecturers, and Ege T. Kavalali as a keynote lecturer, will explore a wide variety of pertinent issues and technological advances in all fields of neuroscience throughout the meeting. We invite you to enjoy this exciting scientific meeting as well as many historical attractions and unique cultures of Korea as a part of your meeting experience.
Mediterranean Neuroscience Society

The Mediterranean Neuroscience Society (MNS) announces the 8th MNS conference to be held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 13-17 June 2021.

The conference will bring together neuroscientists, students and experts from allied disciplines and academic institutions as well as industrial partners from the Mediterranean region and beyond. The conference particularly encourages and supports the interaction of students enabling them to enjoy this stimulating meeting with more experienced colleagues in the early summer on the beautiful Adriatic coast. 

More info at

Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience

Every two years, the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) organizes a summer school. This year’s central topic is “Neurotechnology”. The meeting will take place in the Trippenhuis, a beautiful neoclassical canal mansion in the city center of Amsterdam from June 18 till June 20, 2020. The summer school features lectures from 11 internationally recognized top-level scientist. The event is a gathering of experts in neuroscience and technology and will cover many aspects of this rapidly emerging field. We will discuss the new methods for reading from, and writing to, the brain and the emerging therapeutic applications made possible with this technology.

You can register at

We look forward to meeting you then.

Society for Neuroscience of Peru

The Society for Neuroscience of Peru (SONEP) is made up of professionals from various disciplines who study the nervous system from molecular levels to behavioral levels. SONEP includes basic and applied researchers from various universities and research centers in Peru. It also holds public events to disseminate neuroscientific knowledge in the biomedical, institutional, business, educational and social fields.
Website: / Email: info[at]sonep[dot]org

Society of Neuroscientists of

Trisomy 21 Research Society

The Trisomy 21 Research Society brings together the researchers in the field of Down syndrome. One of our goals is to support young scientists who want to embark on this exciting adventure.

We invite you to the free webinar hosted by the Education and Training Committee

Prof. Peng Jiang will present his work:

“Modeling Down Syndrome Using Human iPSC-Based Cerebral Organoid and Chimeric Mouse Models”

April 28, 5:00 PM CET (12:00 AM USA ET)