Board of Directors
Prof. Suzanne Dickson
Professor Suzanne L Dickson is a neurobiologist and Professor of Neuroendocrinology at the University of Gothenburg. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Neuroendocrinology from the University of Cambridge in 1993, where she later became Senior Lecturer in Physiology. She is a leading figure in neuroendocrinology and works within many European Union and international organisations and societies to promote research, facilitate grant funding and training of Early Career Scientists. Her research into the neurobiology of appetite aims to unravel neurobiological pathways that respond to orexigenic signals, such as the hormone, ghrelin, and that drive feeding behaviours, not only food intake but also food choice, food anticipation, food reward and food motivation. This work involves mostly preclinical studies and includes behavioural tasks, viral vector mapping, chemogenetics and RNAscope. She is Secretary and Executive Board member of the European College for Neuropsychopharmacology, and also chairs ECNP’s Workshop for Early Career Scientists in Europe. She also is founder and co-chair of ECNP’s nutrition network and EBRA’s BRAINFOOD cluster.
Prof. Claudio Bassetti
Professor Claudio Bassetti has been full professor and chair of neurology at the University Hospital in Bern since 2012. He received his medical degree in Basel and trained in neurology in Bern and Lausanne. In 2000, he became professor and vice-chair of neurology in Zurich. In 2009 he founded the Neurocenter of Southern Switzerland.
He completed his research fellowships in basic neurophysiology in Basel and sleep in Ann Arbor, Boston and Madison. His major scientific interests are the relationship between sleep and neurological disorders, narcolepsy, and the teaching of general neurology. He uses clinical and experimental approaches and has published more than 500 articles and eight books.
Prof. Bassetti has previously served as president of the European Neurological Society, European Sleep Research Society and Swiss Neurological Society, and founded the Swiss Federation of Clinical Neurosocieties. He is an elected member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, which he served as board member for eight years. He has been president of the European Academy of Neurology since 2020 and was appointed Dean of the Medical Faculty in Bern that same year.
Prof. Juan Lerma
Professor Juan Lerma is a Professor at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). His research is related to the molecular basis of neuronal communication, specifically the mechanisms used by glutamate and its receptors in synaptic transmission and plasticity to orchestrate fundamental physiological activities and trigger brain diseases when they are deregulated. He has been Director of the Institute of Neurosciences CSIC-UMH; President of the Spanish Society of Neuroscience (SENC); President of the Pan-European Regional Committee of the International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO) and Secretary General of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS). Currently, he is Editor-in-Chief of Neuroscience, Director of the Cajal International Neuroscience Centre (CINC-CSIC) and Councilor of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).
Dr Orla Galvin
Dr. Orla Galvin came to patient advocacy with a PhD in Medicine and background in drug discovery and design in both academic and industry environments. Transitioning to advocacy work at the umbrella patient organisation Retina International, Orla led high impact, multi-stakeholder socio-economic studies, patient preference studies, and accessibility studies across the globe assessing both rare and common conditions.
Orla is an internationally invited speaker to both research and clinical learned societies (for example EURORDIS, EU Retina, ERN-EYE), patient organisations, and industries on topics such as:
- Patient and public involvement in advocacy, research and policy,
- Research in advocacy and policy/evidence-based advocacy,
- Education in advocacy,
- Generation of real-world data,
- Patient reported outcomes, and
- Health economics
She is currently Executive Director of the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA).
Prof Tom Baden
Tom Baden is a professor at the University of Sussex, UK, where he directs the Sussex Centre for Sensory Neuroscience and Computation. Funded by prestigious international grants including from the European Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, his research seeks to understand the function and evolution of neuronal circuits, with a central focus on early vertebrate vision. Prof Baden is also an avid advocate for open science practises, with a particular focus on open hardware.
His scientific work has been recognised in the form of numerous international awards, including the 2016 Nature Eppendorf prize, Nature and Tencent’s inaugural Global Impact Award 2019, or the 2022 FENS-Boehringer Ingelheim Award. Prof Baden serves on several international review and advocacy panels, including the International Brain Research Organisation and Human Frontiers Science Program, while maintaining active links with the FENS-KAVLI Network of Excellence, the European Molecular Biology Organisation, ALBA, and the UK’s Royal Society of Biology.
Prof Baden is co-founding director of TReND in Africa, a UK-registered charity with the goal of fostering university-level science education on the African continent. With a ten-year track record, >800 African scientist alumni, and ongoing projects in nearly half of Africa’s countries, TReND if probably one of the leading international grassroots providers of tertiary science education on the continent.
Prof. Peter Falkai
Prof. Dr. Med. Peter Falkai has been working in the field of psychiatry for 30 years. His main research interest is focused on the neurobiology of psychotic disorders, namely schizophrenia. He holds the position of Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the University of Munich and is currently President of the European Psychiatric Association.
Prof. Falkai has been leading multidisciplinary teams of researchers, allowing the use of techniques ranging from functional imaging to gene expression in human post-mortem-tissue. His clinical and research expertise focuses continuously on the neurobiological origins and pathomorphological aspects as well as on causal treatment options of psychotic disorders.
Hilkka Kärkkäinen is a social worker by profession and expert by experience. Suffered reactive depression in 2002. Has worked both for the City of Helsinki and the City of Espoo in Child Welfare for many years. Worked as a Senior Social Worker in Probation and After Care Association in Helsinki for seven years. Was from 1998 until 2002 Executive Director of Finnish Central Association for Mental Health, which is the biggest Mental Health Patients’ organization in Europe with about 18 000 individual members. Has been President and Vice President of Mieli Maasta, which is a patient association for those suffering from depression. Worked for the City of Järvenpää as a Planner of Regional Mental Health Care in 2004-2005. Retired from her job as Social Ombudsman in Sosiaalitaito in May 2014. Represented GAMIAN-Europe on the Board of EFNA (European Federation of Neurological Associations) in 2002-2004. Served as President of GAMIAN-Europe twice, once in 1999 and she has just finished her most recent term in 2022.
Dr Aki Laakso
Dr Aki Laakso currently works as a neurosurgeon and chief physician at Neurocenter of HUS Helsinki University Hospital, where he was also trained. He has previously also worked as professor and chair of Department of Neurosurgery at Oulu University Hospital. A specialist in neurosurgery since 2009, his main clinical interests lie in microneurosurgical treatment of intrinsic brain tumors and cerebrovascular neurosurgery. He is Research Committee Chair at the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies.
His scientific background is quite diverse for a clinical microneurosurgeon. Early in his academic career, his focus was neurobiology of neuropsychiatric diseases, utilizing methods such as neurotransmitter PET imaging in human subjects and biochemical and behavioral analysis of genetically altered mouse strains. Following completion of his PhD thesis, he worked shortly in a pharmaceutical company designing phase II and III trials, before undertaking a 3-year post-doctoral fellowship at Duke University. During his neurosurgical career, his research has mostly focused on brain arteriovenous malformations, intracranial aneurysms, and surgical techniques. He considers teaching as an essential part of the profession, and has supervised five MD PhD theses, all in neurosurgical topics. He has also been part of the EANS Training Course faculty since 2011.
Prof. Sameer Zuberi
Professor Sameer Zuberi is a Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow and Honorary Professor within the School of Medicine and School of Health & Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow leading the Paediatric Neurosciences Research Group. His other national and international roles include Clinical Lead of the Scottish National Genetic Epilepsy Service, National and International roles include Member of the ILAE Terminology Commission, Member of the Executive Committee of the European Brain Council, Board Member of the European Paediatric Neurology Society and Member of the Women & Children’s Health Innovation Leadership Group and Steering Group Member of the UK National Epilepsy Research Collaborative.
Professor Zuberi was President of the European Paediatric Neurology Society from 2018 until early 2022, and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Paediatric Neurology from November 2014 until early 2021. He chaired the International League Against Epilepsy Commission on Classification and Terminology from 2013-17. His term concluded with the publication of updated position papers on seizure types and epilepsy classification, the first since 1989.
Professor Zuberi’s primary research interests are in epilepsy, movement disorders, channelopathies and neurological sleep disorders. During his MD he studied the emerging field of the ion channelopathies and has built a research career and team identifying genetic aetiologies of neurological disorders, defining genotype phenotype relationships and undertaking RCTs of new medications through national and international collaborations.
Professor Zuberi has been leading on the development of a secure video transfer technology to aid diagnosis, classification & management in neurology patients. vCreate Neuro has been funded nationally in Scotland across all paediatric and adult neurology centres, as well as numerous additional centres across the United Kingdom and Internationally.