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"Syngap1 and related disorders"

March 23-24, 2020

8th Floor Seminar Room | CeMM |

Lazarettgasse | 1090 Vienna

Syngap1 (Synaptic Ras GTPase activating protein 1) is a protein that is critical for the development of cognition and proper synapse function. Mutations of the gene lead to neurodevelopmental disorder and are associated with intellectual disability. They are also proposed to play a significant role in other diseases such as epilepsy, autism, and schizophrenia.

For details on the program please visit the website. Admission is free, but registration is required via the symposium website  Deadline for registration: March 13, 2020.
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ANA is proud to serve as co-organizer of this Symposium

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 "!!!

2019 Best Thesis Award: New Call

ANA announces the “2019 Best PhD Thesis Award”. Submissions are for dissertations successfully defended between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of the year 2019. The submission period is January 1 to 31, 2020. The ANA President in office in the year 2019 will be the Chair of the prize committee, which shall consists in addition of three previous Loewi Price Awardees. The price money will be € 500. An abstract of the thesis will be published on the ANA website.

Ph.D. dissertations of ANA Members are eligible for consideration, regardless of home discipline. Dissertations must clearly show the contributions made by the applicant student. Hence, experimental work carried out by co-authors, where pertinent, should be clearly indicated.

Nominations should be submitted electronically to the ANA Secretary and must include the thesis, a one-page abstract (300 word), a statement on  experimental work carried out by co-authors, a list of publications (if available), the CV, and a letter of recommendation from the thesis adviser or committee member, all in English.

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

Poster Prizes
Marija Ilic
Enrica Paradiso
Cornelia Ablinger
Ahmed Hussein
Katharina Strempfl

Oral Presentation Prizes
Nadine Ortner
Maria Dumitrascuta
Theodora Kalpachidou

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.

See what you have missed by looking at the Program at a Glance and the Program Booklet!


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Brain Awareness Week 2019

Please visit the programs of the successful BAWs in Vienna, Salzburg,

ANA 2018 Best Thesis Award: 2 winners

ANA congratulates Enrica Paradiso and Georg Ammer,
winners of the 2018 best Thesis Award

Georg Ammer completed his thesis work under the supervision of Alexander Borst at Department of Systems and Computational Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Am Klopferspitz 18, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany. Here you can read his complete thesis.

Title: Functional Dissociation of Neural Circuits for Motion Vision in Drosophila

Abstract: Understanding how neural circuits perform fundamental computations is a central goal of neuroscience. A classic example of such a computation is the detection of visual motion. How this operation is implemented at the neuronal level, however, remains elusive. The visual system of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster lends itself particularly well to addressing this question. Recent advances in genetic and anatomical methodology hold promise in mapping the neural elements to proposed algorithmic structures. Moreover, the small size of the fly brain makes it feasible to understand how the motion vision circuit interacts with parallel and downstream circuits to ultimately guide behavior.

All of the studies presented in this thesis investigate the Drosophila motion vision circuit. In particular, they do so by addressing different mechanistic levels. In the first study, we identified T4 and T5 neurons as representing the direction-selective output stage of elementary ON and OFF motion detectors (Manuscript 1). This was followed by characterizing and assessing the functional contribution of their presynaptic input elements (Manuscript 2). Moreover, we tried to refine the algorithmic architecture of the motion detection circuit and assign specific cell types to the elements of that algorithmic structure (Manuscripts 2,3).

The second half of this thesis relates the computation of motion direction to the challenges that this system faces during natural behavior. First, we asked how natural environments have shaped the properties of Drosophila motion detectors (Manuscript 4). Furthermore, we explored the functional interaction of the motion vision system with parallel visual circuits (Manuscripts 5,6). Lastly, we investigated the evolutionary functional conservation of an identified visual neuron across two fly species of different sizes (Manuscript 7). Taken together, the manuscripts contained in this thesis broaden our knowledge on how flies compute the direction of motion and might shed light onto how neural circuits compute in general.

Enrica Paradiso did most of her work under the supervision of Francesco Ferraguti at the Department of Pharmacology, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria. In addition, she spent one year at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland (Group: Andreas Lüthi). 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: Anatomy, connectivity and functional role of Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide-expressing interneurons in the mouse basolateral amygdala.

Abstract: The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is a cortical-like structure known to be involved in simple forms of emotional learning such as fear conditioning. It is an entry site for sensory information to the amygdaloid complex, and local plasticity in the BLA is considered to be crucial for fear learning. Interneurons in the BLA are a small but heterogeneous group of neurons that tightly regulate principal neuron (PNs) excitability. Studies in the neocortex have shown that a specialized class of interneurons, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-expressing interneurons (VIP), primarily contact other types of interneuron resulting in the disinhibition of PNs that allows the encoding of diverse sensory stimuli. However, in the BLA the existence and function of interneuron-selective-interneurons has not been investigated so far. Here we provide the first detailed characterization of the neuroanatomical and immunohistochemical properties of VIP interneurons in the mouse BLA. Furthermore, using a mono-trans-synaptic retrograde tracing approach, we identified direct inputs to VIP BLA interneurons from brain areas involved in sensory-emotional processing and delivery of aversive information to VIP interneurons. By means of calcium imaging in freely behaving mice we found that VIP BLA interneurons are strongly activated by footshocks during associative fear learning. By further studying the local connectivity of these interneurons, a circuit motif could be delineated in which VIP BLA interneurons are upstream of parvalbumin and somatostatin-expressing interneurons preferentially targeting neighboring PNs. Finally, through optogenetic loss-of-function manipulation of VIP BLA interneurons in a fear conditioning paradigm, we demonstrated that activation of VIP interneurons during the presentation of the footshock is a mandatory teaching signal for both associative and contextual fear leaning.

Therefore, permissive gating of PNs by VIP interneurons might be a general operational principle that allows to discriminate important from irrelevant sensory stimuli and to facilitate stimulus-associations to ensure appropriate behavioral adaptations to salient events.

Jury for the 2018 Best Thesis Award: Sigismund Huck (ANA President); Ruth Drdla-Schutting (Loewi Award 2017); David Keays (Loewi Award 2015); Alex Koschak (Loewi Award 2011).


Our recently introduced Website offers new opportunities for News and Blogs. It has already proven to be of great help in managing the association. The Website has 3 levels of access: (1) Open for the general public (2) Open for all ANA Members (3) Open for ANA Board Members. 

If you intend to get access as member, please follow instructions on the page Member Website Options. Once you are logged-in you should complete your personal profile. Existing members may ignore the fields "Sponsor Name" and "Sponsor Email". Your profile will already show whether you are up-to-date with your annual dues. For your convenience you can now print your own invoice and pay membership and registration fees by Credit Card, in addition to online banking. You may see (and comment) ANA News and how to contribute to ANA blogs. If you visit the Directory and use "Advanced Search" you should now be able to find cities, institutions, and "keywords for research interests". In order to make this a useful function we am urging all members to update their personal profile. Please note that the directory is only visible to ANA Members.


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