Supported by an IBRO Pan-European Regional Committee grant, NEURONUS 2018 IBRO Neuroscience Forum was held from 20 – 22 April 2018 in the Auditorium Maximum of the Jagiellonian University, in the city centre of Kraków, Poland. It featured an intensive 3-day program with 6 plenary lectures, 20 oral sessions and 3 poster sessions, including almost 90 oral and over 200 poster presentations. The meeting was attended by approximately 500 neuroscientists coming from 25 countries, with the majority of attendees being early-career researchers. The emphasis of the NEURONUS Forums is on the development of young scientists and facilitating communication between researchers from different fields of neuroscience.
The conference started with an educational session, ‘’Drugs that heal, drugs that kill,’’ which covered the advantages and disadvantages of frequently used psychoactive drugs. This session was a tribute to Professor Jerzy Vetulani, a prominent Kraków neuroscientist who passed away last year. Phil Skolnick, Chief Scientific Officer of Opiant Pharmaceuticals based in Santa Monica, California, introduced the pros and cons of opioidergic drugs. He was followed by Jan Ramaekers, Professor in Psychopharmacology and Behavioural Toxicology at Maastricht University, who talked about the use of cannabinoids, and Professor Eero Castrén from the University of Helsinki who discussed the effects and side-effects of antidepressants.
All other oral sessions were introduced by experienced scientists, while four young scientists discussed their recent research. There was plenty of room for discussions, which often were continued at the poster sessions of young researchers. The focus of half of the sessions was put on psychological neuroscience and the other half on biological/medical neuroscience. Social events, such as a welcome reception, free lunches, and a party for all participants, were also organized and used by participants for networking, meeting with senior researchers, as well as career development.
Overall, the event met its objectives of providing a dynamic environment for both young and senior researchers to share knowledge, network and facilitate communication between the various disciplines of neuroscience. We hope to continue this tradition in the future and contribute to the ongoing advancement of neuroscience in Europe and the world.
This report was written by the organiser of NEURONUS 2018 IBRO Neuroscience Forum: Anton Coenen, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.