SAVE THE DATE:
28 – 30 September 2021
This is usually the time, before the holiday break, when we look back at a fruitful year, celebrate the achievements of our members, recall successful ANA initiatives, and thank our ANA partners. In 2020, everything was different, our personal and professional lives have been and are still affected by COVID-19. At the same time, the coronavirus pandemic has made people increasingly aware of the importance of science for public health and society at large. This is much in line with ANA´s mission of fostering the advancement and public representation of the neurosciences in Austria aiming at building public trust in science, reaching out, and communicating scientific knowledge.
As we approach the end of this worrisome year, let us take the opportunity to reflect on positive things. We are happy to report that ANA has a continuously growing number of members and we are taking pride in supporting more and more initiatives, including travel grants, awards, and financial contributions to scientific meetings, symposia, and training courses. For a full list of opportunities, please visit our website. Most noteworthy highlights of 2020
❄ the Best Thesis Award 2019 that was given to
- Stefanie Geisler (Medical University Innsbruck)
- Anna Tröscher (Medical University of Vienna)
❄ ANA became a partner of the online platform “Das Gehirn“ (see also the article by Thomas Bugnyar and a commentary by Ludwig Huber).
❄ Young ANA´s Social Media Award that went to
- Florian Grössl (IMP, Vienna)
- Szabolcs Biró, Anikó Fejes, and Sabria Lagoun (The Brainstorms Scientifics)
❄ as a consequence of the pandemic, meetings had to be moved to the virtual space, including the FENS Forum 2020 that went fully online for the first time. Due to the excellent set-up, the virtual forum provided the opportunity to access online talks for 3 months (until mid October) and to watch parallel sessions that may have been missed during an in-person event. Of course, ANA provided grants for members to participate in the virtual FENS Forum
Unfortunately, several ANA supported events had to be cancelled. They will, however, take place at a later time point.
For 2021, we have great plans again! First and foremost, the ANA Meeting 2021 is scheduled to take place in Salzburg from 28 to 30 September 2021. The meeting is planned as an in-person event following a strict hygiene concept and safety measures.
In addition, please look out for the following ANA awards in 2021
❄ ANA Best Thesis Award 2020: deadline 31 January 2021
We want to especially thank our board members for their continued engagement in these most challenging times.
Vice-Secretary Ramon Tasan (Medical University of Innsbruck
Bruno Benedetti (Paracelsus Medical Private University, Salzburg)
Last but certainly not least, we are very grateful to our ANA partners and sponsors for their unwavering support:
We wish you and your loved ones a joyful holiday season and a healthy and prosperous 2021!
Francesco Ferraguti, Isabella Sarto-Jackson, René Seiger
PS: We would also like to share information from the FENS President Jean-Antoine Girault: Finally, preparations have already begun for the FENS Forum 2022, on 9-13 July in Paris, France. We hope you have already noted down these dates in your calendars and that you will join us: we will be launching the call for symposia and technical workshops in March 2021 and look forward to your proposals.
Young ANA proudly announces the new winners of the
Young ANA Social Media Award:
SZABOLCS BIRÓ, ANIKÓ FEJES and SABRIA LAGOUN,
cofounders of THE BRAINSTORMS SCIENTIFICS!
The Golden Trio has literally taken Austria by STORM with their initiative that tells about Neuroscience in fresh and entertaining ways. Stay tuned and check out their events following THE BRAINSTORMS SCIENTIFICS online!
ANA is happy to announce that the following ANA members will receive a grant to participate in the FENS Virtual Forum 2020:
Hugo Malagon (Medical University of Vienna)
FENS Virtual Forum 2020 & ANA Grants
We are sure all of you know, that the Covid-19 pandemic prevents a “physical” FENS Forum this summer and that FENS has taken an enormous effort and challenge to convert the Forum into a virtual format, which will be online on the same dates: 11-15 July 2020. Many of you will wonder whether attending a virtual meeting is actually worth the time and money. The ANA Board believes that given the exceptional circumstances a virtual meeting is the best option available to keep promoting European Neuroscience at large. Hence, ANA strongly encourages its members to participate and contribute to the meeting. To promote this, ANA makes available grants for PhD students and young Postdocs (within 3 years from when they obtained their Doctoral degree), who are members of ANA, to cover up to 75% of the registration fee (calculated on the basis of the Student Member fee).
Should you wish anyway to withdraw your registration and get reimbursed 100% of the fee, please be aware that you can do so only before the 22nd April 2020. For further information go to FENS 2020 Virtual Forum FAQ, Cancellation and Reimbursement (FENS Virtual Forum Q&A).
With best wishes
The ANA Board
ANA 2019 Best Thesis Award: 2 winners
ANA congratulates Stefanie Geisler and Anna Tröscher,
completed her thesis work under the supervision of Gerald Obermair, Department of Physiology, Medical University Innsbruck, Austria. A link to the Medical University of Innsbruck thesis repository will be set here as soon as all her thesis work has been published.
Title: Redundant and specific functions of neuronal calcium channel α2δ isoforms in mutant mouse models and cultured neurons
Abstract: The four auxiliary α2δ isoforms of voltage-gated calcium channelshave been implicated in synaptogenesis and neurological disorders. Yet, the molecular mechanisms by which individual isoforms exert synaptic functions in health and disease remainlargely elusive. This lack of mechanistic insight can be partly ascribed to the fact that many brain regions simultaneously express α2δ-1, α2δ-2 and α2δ-3. Here we show that neuronal α2δ isoforms act partially redundant, but have also highly specific functions. By generating and characterizing three distinct double knockout mouse models, we first demonstrate a general importance in survival and development. The augmented severity of the phenotype in double compared to single knockout mice further supports the idea of functional redundancy. Nevertheless, volumetric analysis of brain sections revealed a reduced size of distinct brain regions, suggesting specific roles of individual α2δ isoforms. Indeed, using primary neuronal cultures from embryonic mice we show that presynaptic overexpressionof the α2δ-2 isoform strongly increases clustering of postsynaptic GABAA-receptors (GABAAR) in GABAergic synapses. Strikingly, presynaptic α2δ-2 exerts the same effect in glutamatergic synapses, leading to an abnormal localization of GABAARs opposite glutamatergic nerve terminals. Employing super-resolution microscopy we further demonstrate that this mismatched synapse formation is caused by an aberrant wiring of glutamatergic presynaptic boutons with GABAergic postsynaptic positions. The property of α2δ-2 to induce mismatched synapses is independent of the prototypical cell-adhesion molecules α-neurexins. However, exclusion of a single alternatively spliced exon is essential for the trans-synaptic recruitment of GABAAR. Taken together, the findings presented in this thesis propose that α2δ isoforms regulate synaptic connectivity of glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons depending on exon usage. Our results thus provide a novel mechanistic explanation for how abnormal α2δ subunit expression can result in aberrant neuronal wiring associated with neurological disorders, including epilepsy and autism.
completed her thesis work under the supervision of Jan Bauer, Division of Neuroimmunology, CBR, Medical University of Vienna. Here you find her complete thesis.
Title: Inflammation and Viruses in Epilepsy
Abstract: Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases but a third of patients do not respond to pharmacological treatment. Of those, many suffer from immune-mediated epilepsy, which can arise from the innate and adaptive immune system. Adaptive immune reactions can comprise of a T cell-or a humoral response. Depending on the immunological pathway activated and the brain area affected, the symptoms vary. Antibody-mediated encephalitis, such as anti-leucine-rich glioma-inactivated (LGI)-1 encephalitis, leads to limbic encephalitis, accompanied by memory disturbances, psychosis and seizures. T cell-mediated encephalitis, for example Rasmussen encephalitis (RE), causes seizures and severe brain atrophy, and hence cognitive defects. Many questions regarding immune-mediated epilepsies have not been answered yet and are difficult to address due to lack of tissue or its scarcity. Hence, we took advantage of a natural animal model, in which cats develop antibodies againstLGI1 and show symptoms similar to the human disease to analyze changes outside the hippocampus in LGI1-encephalitis. We could show that T cell infiltrates occur brain-wide and do not overlap with blood-brain-barrier leakage. Further a tight-junction protein is lost in the hippocampus and the amygdala, causing immunoglobulin leakage, leading to complement deposition on neurons and hence neurodegeneration. In addition, we established a method to perform whole-genome transcriptomic studies on minimal amounts of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue to identify innate and adaptive immune responses in RE, a prime model of T cell-mediated diseases. We were able to show that small microglia nodules precede the T cell influx, providing an inflammatory microenvironment characterized by endosomal Toll-like receptor (TLR) and inflammasome upregulation. With disease progression, T cells intermingle with the microglia nodules, where they attack and kill neurons. Neonatal microglia cultures showed similar expression profiles upon TLR3 stimulation to what was observed in RE, indicating a TLR induced inflammatory reaction. Taken together, we were able to explain human pathology underlying pathomechanisms leading to two different forms of drug-resistant epilepsy.
Jury for the 2019 Best Thesis Award: Sigismund Huck (ANA President); Christian Humpel (Loewi Award 2001); Johannes Berger (Loewi Award 2003); Harald Sitte (Loewi Award 2007).
Glasgow FENS Forum 2020 is online
You can now view the fantastic program of the FENS Forum in Glasgow (July 11-15, 2020). Please note that as ANA member you may submit travel grant applications to both FENS and ANA. For details please visit the Forum or our ANA Website, respectively.
!!! Please check information on FENS (Cajal) courses, Brain Conferences, and FENS Schools at "Upcoming Events "!!!
ANA honors Hans Winkler as Pioneer in Austrian Neuroscience
At the occasion of the ANA/APHAR 2019 Meeting in Innsbruck, ANA President Sigismund Huck and the incoming ANA President Francesco Ferraguti honored Hans Winkler for his groundbreaking discoveries on peptidergic neurotransmission. The focus of his research were large dense-core vesicles, their content in neurosecretory proteins such as the chromogranins, and the biochemical characterization of the ATP-transporter on these vesicles.
Hans Winkler graduated in Medicine in Innsbruck, did his D. Phil. with Herman Blaschko at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford, and became Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology at the Leopold-Franzens University of Innsbruck in 1975. He succeeded Heribert Konzett in 1980 as head of the Department of Pharmacology. Hans Winkler collaborated for many years with David Smith (Oxford) and contributed as member of the editorial board from the beginning to “Neuroscience”, the IBRO journal founded by David Smith. Hans Winkler was a member of EMBO and of the DANA/EDAB alliance for the Brain. His oeuvre includes >250 publications with more than 10.000 citations.
Roman Romanov winner of the 2019 Otto Loewi Award
The Otto Loewi Award is a prestigious prize for neuroscience research in Austria and provided biannually by the Austrian Neuroscience Association (ANA). The 2019 prize was awarded to Roman Romanov (CBR, Medical University of Vienna) at the occasion of the ANA/APHAR Meeting in Innsbruck. Visit the Otto Loewi Award site for some details.
ANA/APHAR Meeting September 2019 in Innsbruck
Oral Presentation Prizes
ANA/APHAR Meeting September 2019 in Innsbruck
260 Participants attended the ANA/APHAR Meeting 2019! The meeting took place at the Center for Chemistry and Biomedicine (CCB) in Innsbruck and was a joint venture with the Austrian Pharmacological Society (APHAR). In addition, it was preceded by the final event of the FWF-funded Spezialforschungsbereich SFB-F44, which added a number of high-profile international speakers.
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