With the collaboration of the DANA Foundation, we present here a series of events with the Brain Awareness Week!
To disseminate the wonders of the brain!

Register HERE!


14th March, 16h - Meet the young scientist. Neuroscience in three minutes.

How much do we know about our brains? Young international scientists will share with us their research on how we feel, perceive, and behave. We aim to promote the dissemination of knowledge in neuroscience research, as well as tackle the interaction of people studying different aspects of the brain.

María Díez Téllez (Biochemical Institute, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany)

Understanding the role of tetraspanins as modulators of the metalloprotease ADAM10 (worked alongside with Lisa Seipold, Paul Saftig)

ADAM10 is a metalloprotease that plays a major role in the ectodomain shedding of over 100 cell surface proteins. Many of its substrates are later cleaved by the gamma secretase complex, for example the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP), one of the main proteins involved in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Multiple proteases are involved in the proteolytic processing of APP, while some of the pathways resulting in the generation of the neurotoxic Aβ plaques, a clinical hallmark of AD, others are preventative in the production of these toxic forms of APP. Initial cleavage of APP mediated by ADAM10 is one of the processes that does not generate neurotoxic forms of APP. Although the mechanisms that control ADAM10 mediated proteolysis are not well known, there is evidence that tetraspanins, a family of small proteins, are major regulators. Moreover, two members of the tetraspanin family, Tspan 3 and Tspan 15, have been found to be upregulated in the brains of Alzheimer’s Disease patients as well as in the brains of the 5XFAD mice. Here, using a mouse model that lacks Tspan 15 and expresses the 5XFAD mutations, we show that the deficiency of Tspan 15 in 6-month-old females lead to an increase in the generation and formation of Aβ plaques in cortex with histological analysis of half-brains. These results suggest that Tspan 15 may have a key role in either preventing the formation of Aβ plaques in AD or, in its absence, worsening the prognosis of the disease.

Gema Benedicto Rodríguez (Ethereal Project ,Electronics, Computer Technology and Projects Department | Electronic design and signal processing techniques (Polytechnic University of Cartagena UPCT)

Revolutionizing Autism Therapy with Robotics: A Pioneering Intervention Protocol for Emotional Deficits

Discover how robotics has become a cutting-edge therapeutic tool for treating emotional deficits in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In this groundbreaking study, an intervention protocol has been developed to evaluate the physiological response of patients during therapy sessions by measuring the Galvanic Skin Response (GSR). Join me through pivotal training areas (PRT) and discover how robotics can help reduce stress in these children.

Pamela Villar González

How do we study Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is one of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental disorders worldwide. Although specific biomarkers of ASD have not been found yet, we know that it is a neurodevelopmental treat present at birth or developed right after it, characterized by high heritability and heterogeneity. For this reason, sibling studies have become popular in the last few years. Surprisingly, there is a wide heterogeneity between symptom profiles and severity, between individuals, and within individuals diagnosed. Something that they have in common though, are communication difficulties, with or without language delay. This suggests that the study of proto-language and language should help with earlier diagnosis and interventions, implying not just a positive impact on the life of the toddler but also on their families.

Javier Rández Garbayo. University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).

Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) for targeted drug delivery in ischemic stroke

Magnetic particle imaging (MPI) is an innovative new radiation-free tomographic imaging technology. MPI measures the spatial distribution of magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) with high sensitivity and enables 3D real-time imaging with a superior temporal resolution compared to other conventional imaging methods. Therefore, MPI is an ideal technology for vascular imaging and detection of diseases such as ischemic stroke. It combines several features; functional parameters like temperature or viscosity can be extracted from the image. Furthermore, it can be used to navigate the MNPs in a contact less fashion only by controlling the applied magnetic fields. Herein, targeted drug delivery based on Magnetic Particle Imaging Navigation (MPIN) could potentially provide a better alternative for the injection of thrombolytic medications in acute ischemic stroke patients. The magnetic particles coupled to the thrombolytic drug could be injected intravascularly into the body and navigated and concentrated locally in the vascular territory of the vessel occlusion where the drug should have a local effect. As a result, the drug functionalized magnetic particles could help to clear the blood vessel and the imaging ability of MPIN could be used to control the re-opening of the vessel and track the correct targeting with a non-invasive procedure.

Anna Salamero Boix (Georg-Speyer-Haus. Institute for Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapy )

Boosting the immune system to defeat brain cancer

Do you know what happens when abnormal cells form and accumulate within the brain? In this talk we will see how our brain reacts to cancer and how we can manipulate the immune system to defeat brain cancer.

Isabel López Taboada. Uniovi

Stress and Western Diet: Influence on Gut Microbiota and Depression.

Early life stress has anxiogenic effects on the behavior of adult Wistar rats, together with changes in the composition of gut microbiota and bacterial metabolites with a different affection between males and females. Besides, a western diet pattern is related with detrimental effects on anxiety-like behavior and gut microbiota impairments. However, the interaction between both environmental factors could cause a neuroprotective effect, decreasing anxiety-like behavior and restoring the gut microbiota.

Daniel García (Evotec)

Alternative therapies for Alzheimer’s Disease

Neuro-Bio is a privately-owned biotech out of Oxford University with a therapeutic focus on neurodegenerative disease. The company has discovered a novel 14 amino acid bioactive peptide (T14) derived from the C terminus of AChE.

T14 is neurotoxic in the adult brain and published data shows it to be a potential key driver of neurodegeneration. This new distinct mechanism is being exploited by Neuro-Bio to develop exciting new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease. T14 can also be measured in blood and Neuro-Bio is developing this biomarker as a companion diagnostic.

Ole Sudland (WWU Münster)

The circadian modulation of the auditory system in drosophila

The fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) has been instrumental in uncovering the biological basis of both animal communication systems and circadian rhythms. Reproductive events of fruit flies occur in the early morning hours, suggesting that sensory-systems pertinent to mating-behaviours could be circadianally modulated. The auditory system of drosophila is vital for reproductive fitness, and therefore such a plausible candidate system. Has evolution put the antennal ear of fruit flies under the control of the circadian clock?

Dr. Lídia Cantacorps Centellas (German Institute of Human Nutrition - Potsdam-Rehbrücke)

How do scientists study maternal obesity and brain development?

Maternal obesity during pregnancy can lead to metabolic disorders in the offspring. In this talk, I will explain how we study the impact of maternal nutrition on the offspring’s brain development in mice.

14th March, 17h - Science Communication

Mercedes de Luis Andrés. ACERA.

An experiment-The art of journalism Local journalism narrative, right from where you are

Reportages, chronicles, and journalistic interviews are powerful, they may transport us into other people’s worlds, in doing that, they awake empathy - especially when we read those stories, on paper format, we enjoy time to reflect on what we read, or when we listen to those stories through the warm human voice in the radio. Would it be your perception of the world and your role in it different if you could limit your imagination to a local narrative?

Take with us this talk, where you can learn some of the professional techniques to boost your creativity to develop written stories out of the place where you are. In local journalism, the simplest narrative can awake an empathic response. Stories aren’t only fundamental to how we adjust our vision of the world — they are also about how we understand the world.

The writer is not an all-powerful architect of our reading experience. The writer guides the way we imagine but does not determine it. A film begins with a writer producing a screenplay. But it is the director who brings the screenplay to life, filling in most of the details. So it is with any story. A writer lays down words, but they are inert. They need a catalyst to come to life. The catalyst is the reader’s imagination (Jonathan Gottschall)

16th March, 16h - From Molecules to Behavior I

Maria Elisa Serrano Navacerrada. King´s College London.

DREADDs: a new tool to manipulate cells in the living brain.

Did you know that it was possible to activate and inhibit brain cells in precise moments of the day? One of the key aspects of neurodegenerative diseases is not only the loss of brain cells, but the decrease/increase in their functionality. In the last few years, genetic and molecular engineers have created a new tool -DREADDs- that allows neuroscientists to activate or inhibit specific cell types that could be associated with different neurological diseases, opening the door to a new world of alternative therapies. Throughout this talk we will explore the mechanisms and therapeutic possibilities of this new technique, highlighting the pros and cons of its use in humans.

Celia Escudero. Kiel University.

Neurons in the gut! Is the brain the one truly controlling of our bodies?

Neurons are essential to push intestinal content forward through the peristaltic movements. However, this is not their only job there! neurons can also communicate with epithelial and immune cells in the gut to inform the brain about satiety/hunger or govern immune responses. Did you know that gut health alter our behaviour? The latest research suggests that neurological and inflammatory bowel diseases might share pathological mechanisms. In this talk, we will explain how the brain and gut communicate and how they affect each other both in healthy and disease.

Saul Herranz, Universitat Autonoma Madrid.

Gene and Cell Therapy to treat neurodegenerative disorders

Marina García Macia . University of Salamanca. CSIC.

Connecting cellular recycling and metabolism

Our laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate the energetic and redox homeostasis in the cells of the central nervous system. As a part of the Bolaños’ Team, my aim is to understand the link between Batten disease, a neurometabolic disorder characterized by lysosomal accumulation of lipofuscins, with autophagy, specifically lipophagy.

17th March, 16h - From Molecules to Behavior II

Annika Luetjohann. UKM. Muenster University.

Can Absence Seizures be prevented?

An alternative treatment approach for epilepsy is deep brain stimulation (DBS), in which electrical pulses, aimed to modulate seizure activity, are delivered to a brain structure, either in a preprogrammed stimulation schedule (open loop stimulation) or triggered by the detection of a seizure in an on-line analysis of the EEG (closed loop stimulation). The talk will outline the for optimal stimulation parameters for DBS as well as the development of an on-line, seizure prediction algorithm and its implementation into a closed-loop, deep-brain stimulation system aimed to predict and prevent the occurrence of seizures in a genetic rat model of absence epilepsy.

Miguel Angel Rivas Fdz.University Santiago Compostela

In-vivo histology of myelin: A specialized membrane for cell communication.

Myelin sheaths are greatly extended and modified plasma membranes wrapped around the nerve axons in a spiral fashion. These myelin membranes are crucial for healthy brain function and they play a fundamental role in determining the speed of cell communications. In this talk, I will present how myelin content can be evaluated using high spatial resolution techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging as well as the relevance of this research to expand our understanding about neurodegenerative diseases.

Abdelrahman Rayan . Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour.

Sleep and Artificial Intelligence, are we there yet?

In this talk I will guide you through the fascinating history of sleep research by tracing its evolution from early discoveries to the modern intersection of sleep and Artificial intelligence (AI). Although rodents have been extensively used in sleep research to understand the neural mechanism understanding sleep, the complexity underlying sleep architecture remains to be fully understood. We will explore how AI can potentially aid in a better understanding of various stages of sleep in rodents as well as its potential to help in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.

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