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Location: HALL E, Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center, Vienna Austria

Across the globe, society is facing brain challenges like never before. Brain disorders – neurological and mental alike – are widespread, highly disabling and often difficult to treat. In fact, it is estimated that up to one billion people worldwide live with a neurological condition and 970 million people around the world were living with a mental health disorder as of 2019, with anxiety and depressive disorders the most common. These conditions represent a high individual, social and economic burden and contribute to the global disease burden and disability.

Improving the health and well-being of citizens has become the top priority for many governments and brain health should not be left behind. Enhancing global brain research collaboration can spur innovation and quicken effective outcomes to the benefit of people living with brain conditions everywhere.

Over the last few years, EBC has served as a convener for experts in the brain community to share best practices, exchange ongoing work and align priorities to forge a joint path forward to understand and address the brain rather than in silos across continents.

To move past discussion and work towards explicit and tangible next steps in solidifying global efforts in brain research, EBC is actively involved in engaging the community in relevant areas for action, including advocating for the recognition of brain health as an urgent priority in planning for Global Action Plans and national brain health plans/strategies and the development of policy recommendations to guide national, regional and global policymakers towards better addressing brain health in the future. Part of this is through direct engagement within the Coordination and Support Action BrainHealth, launched at the end of 2023 to prepare the future European Brain Health Partnership.

This event, aimed to bring the global brain research community together on the occasion of the FENS Forum to network and build synergies in an informal setting, will also feature a short panel discussion with key stakeholders working across continents to unite the brain research community globally.


George Baretto

IBRO Latin America Regional Committee (LARC)

Dr George Barreto earned his PhD in Neuroscience (2009) from the Universidad Complutense Madrid (Spain) studying the effects of neurosteroids on reactive glia with traumatic brain injury. His Post-doctoral training in Neuroscience at Stanford University School of Medicine (2009-2011) focused on addressing the role of astrocytes activation following stroke and enhance astrocytic functions targeting neuronal protection. Nowadays Dr George Barreto is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Cell Biology/Immunology in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Limerick (UL, Ireland) and a member of the Health Research Institute from the same University. He is also the ERASMUS contact point within the Dept and member of the EDF Steering Committee and Events and Media subgroup, the Chair of Action Plan subgroup in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Forum Committee, and the Athena Swan Steering Committee at UL. Dr Barreto is also a member of the IBRO Latin America Regional Committee (LARC) and served as President of the Colombian Neuroscience Society (COLNE) in 2014-2018. He has served in numerous grants panels and editorial boards and is nowadays the Section Editor in Neuroendocrinology for Pharmacological Research.
His main research interests are to better understand how natural and synthetic androgens and estrogens affect brain functions, particularly on how these hormones control the mitochondrial functions in the healthy and diseased brain during lifespan in a sex-dependent manner (UN SDGs 3 and 5).

Ulrike Bußhoff

Coordinator, CSA BrainHealth

Dr. Ulrike Busshoff is Head of the International Health Research Department at the DLR Project Management Agency (DLR-PT), Germany. She oversees national, European and international research funding programmes in the area of brain health and global health. Besides conceptualizing and executing research funding programs on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research she is also responsible for overarching topics like patient and public involvement, quality assurance in biomedical research, and ethical issues. Dr. Busshoff is the coordinator of the ERA-Net NEURON (Network of European Funding for Neuroscience Research) that comprises ministries and funding agencies from 27 countries in and beyond Europe. Members in this network collaborate along a common research agenda, and with support by the European Commission to jointly fund research, networking and training activities in the area of neurological and mental disorders. Since 2023, Dr. Busshoff is also the coordinator of the CSA BrainHealth. This EU funded network conceptualizes and prepares a European Partnership for Brain Health. This large-scale endeavour will support brain health research and innovation with the ultimate goal to preserve and promote brain health. She serves also as member of the Advisory Board EU-Africa PerMed, an EU funded coordination and support action fostering joint projects in personalised medicine research between Europe and Africa. Dr. Busshoff holds a PhD in neurobiology from the University of Heidelberg, including research stays in the Netherlands as well as South Korea.

Stephanie Kramer

Deputy Executive Director EBC

Stephanie Kramer joined EBC in March 2016 within the projects team, eventually making the move to heading the Communications, Advocacy & Policy team until 2023. Aside from the day to day, Stephanie’s role as Deputy Director continues to oversee the Communications & Advocacy work, with a more strategic role focused on EBC’s global partnerships portfolio, external relations and larger-scale advocacy events.

Stephanie holds an LLM in International Law from the University of Edinburgh, and a BA in International Relations & Diplomacy from Schiller International University Heidelberg & Madrid. An expat since childhood, before starting her career in the Brussels bubble she had previous communications, external relations and project management experience at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna and private sector companies in the Netherlands and Chile.

Mahmoud Bukar Maina

Society of Neuroscientists of Africa (SONA)

Dr Mahmoud Bukar Maina is an Independent Research Fellow Research Fellow at Sussex Neuroscience (UK) and visiting scientist at Yobe State University (Nigeria). He obtained a BSc in Human Anatomy from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Sussex, UK. His research majorly focuses on understanding the basic mechanism of disease in Alzheimer’s disease, with a special focus on the role of Tau, amyloid beta and APOE. Concurrently, his work partly focuses on generating human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived brain models from indigenous African populations to understand Dementia mechanisms.
Dr Maina is also passionate about open science and inspiring/training the next generation of African scientists. He recently established the Biomedical Science Research and Training Centre in Nigeria (BioRTC – www.BioRTC.com) to facilitate neuroscience research in Africa. In addition, he is the Outreach Coordinator for TReND in Africa, the founder of Science Communication Hub Nigeria and the African Science Literacy Network to increase access to science role models and public understanding of science in Africa. His work and science engagement activities have been supported by the Wellcome Trust, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Alzheimer’s Research UK and the University of Sussex. He has received many awards, including the Royal Society of Biology Science Communication Award in 2017, the young African of the year nomination for the Future Awards Africa, the New England Biolabs Passion for Science Humanitarian Duty Award in 2019 and the 2022 ALBA-FKNE Diversity Prize for promotion of basic neuroscience in Africa. In 2020, he was endorsed by the Royal Society as a Global Talent.

John J. Ngai

Director NIH BRAIN Initiative

Dr John J. Ngai, Ph.D., is the Director of the NIH’s Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®(BRAIN) Initiative. Dr. Ngai earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Pomona College, Claremont, California, and Ph.D. in biology from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Caltech and at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons before starting his faculty position at the University of California at Berkeley. During more than 25 years as a Berkeley faculty member, Dr. Ngai has trained 20 undergraduate students, 24 graduate students and 15 postdoctoral fellows in addition to teaching well over 1,000 students in the classroom. His work has led to the publication of more than 70 scientific articles in some of the field’s most prestigious journals and 10 U.S. and international patents. Dr. Ngai has received many awards including from the Sloan Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, and McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience. As a faculty member, Dr. Ngai has served as the director of Berkeley’s Neuroscience Graduate Program and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. He has also provided extensive service on NIH study sections, councils and steering groups, including as previous co-chair of the NIH BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Consortium Steering Group. Dr. Ngai oversees the long-term strategy and day-to-day operations of the NIH BRAIN Initiative as it strives to revolutionize our understanding of the brain in both health and disease.

Suzanne Dickson

President EBC

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 PhysiologyShe 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.

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