Confirmed Speakers



Michał Biały

Department of Experimental and Clinical Physiology, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland



  Scientific topics:
  • Behavioral Science
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Animal Behavior
  • Social Behavior


  • Sexual performance and precontact 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations in WAG/Rij rats: Effects of opioid receptor treatment
  • Blockade of androgen receptor in the medial amygdala inhibits noncontact erections in male rats

LECTURE TITLE: "The socio-sexual activity of male rat as a model of appetitive behavior."


ABSTRACT: The sexual behavior of male rats is appetitive behavior strongly related to social interaction and cues from other rats. At least five independent factors regulate male sexual activity: anticipatory, initiation copulatory efficiency, number of intromission and hit (intromission) ratio. Even such processes like penis erections are regulate by different hormonal and neuronal networks at different behavioral context (copulation, noncontact erections or ex copula erections). These factors and sexual activity were analyzed in relation to neuronal networks, as well as hormonal and pharmacological background of arousal, motivation, learning and memory of emotional state, social interaction, and expression of emotion, activation of rewarding system at the physiology and pathophysiology (depression, autism, addiction, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes). Also sexual interactions give new windows to understand of the role of ultrasonic vocalizations emitted by rats. Our new results show, that postejaculatory 22-kHz vocalizations reflect expression of positive emotion during relaxation state.



Paweł Boguszewski

Department of Neurophysiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Warsaw, Poland


  Memberships and affiliations:
  • Polish Neuroscience Society, Poland
  • Federation of European Neuroscience Societies
  • International Brain Research Organization.
  • New York Academy of Sciences
  • National Postdoctoral Association
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • European Brain and Behaviour Society

Scientific software developed:

  • Software package for transformation and manipulation of EMG experimental data
  • Programs for automatic statistical analysis
  • EthoLog - program for registration and analysis of animal behavior, including social interactions. Replaced by BehaView
  • TrackExplorer – program supporting analysis and behavioral data visualization for EthoVision 1.95 (Noldus, The Netherlands).
  • BehaView - Free viewer made for playing digital movies with special options for easy marking and analysis behavioral events.


LECTURE TITLE: "Contemporary social interaction paradigms in behavioral neuroscience"


ABSTRACT: Analysis of animal behavior is one of the fundamental tools used by behavioral neuroscientists. There are many experimental approaches based on observation of single animal, usually exploring artificial environment or stimuli and performing forced tasks with limited set of responses measured. The alternative approach implies using the social interaction paradigms. There are numerous advantages of this concept. A major implies taking benefit of natural stimulus, i.e., presence of another conspecific animal(s), in opposite to artificial objects or elaborated tasks. Also, natural repertoire of animals reactions can be measured as dependent variable. Various paradigms of social interaction in laboratory rodents have been successfully developed and contributed strongly to investigation and identification of neuronal mechanisms of aggression, learning and memory, social defeat, stress, anxiety, individual differences in emotional reactivity and effects of psychoactive drugs. This unique ecological relevance and flexibility contributed to growing popularity of social interaction paradigms in past 10 years. It must be mentioned however, that such studies, due to its involvement of multiple animals, complexity and multidimensionality, present the researcher with challenges in experiment design, measurement techniques and data analysis. In my lecture I would review the latest achievements, newest methods and difficulties to be faced with behavioral tests based on social interactions.



Claude Brodsky

Ben Gurion University, Negev, Israel


  Research topics:
  • Molecular mechanisms controlling the development of dopaminergic neurons
  • The implications of abnormal development of dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons in adult behaviour


  • Deciphering the spatio-temporal expression and stress regulation of Fam107B, the paralog of the resilience-promoting protein DRR1 in the mouse brain.
  • Abnormal development of monoaminergic neurons is implicated in mood fluctuations and bipolar disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology.
  • A novel role for Pax6 in the segmental organization of the hindbrain. Development.


LECTURE TITLE: Abnormal development of monoaminergic neurons is implicated in mood fluctuations and bipolar disorder.


ABSTRACT: Subtle mood fluctuations are normal emotional experiences, whereas drastic mood swings can be a manifestation of bipolar disorder (BPD). Despite their importance for normal and pathological behavior, the mechanisms underlying endogenous mood instability are largely unknown. During embryogenesis, the transcription factor Otx2 orchestrates the genetic networks directing the specification of dopaminergic (DA) and serotonergic (5-HT) neurons. Here we behaviorally phenotyped mouse mutants overexpressing Otx2 in the hindbrain, resulting in an increased number of DA neurons and a decreased number of 5-HT neurons in both developing and mature animals. Over the course of 1 month, control animals exhibited stable locomotor activity in their home cages, whereas mutants showed extended periods of elevated or decreased activity relative to their individual average. Additional behavioral paradigms, testing for manic- and depressive-like behavior, demonstrated that mutants showed an increase in intra-individual fluctuations in locomotor activity, habituation, risk-taking behavioral parameters, social interaction, and hedonic-like behavior. Olanzapine, lithium, and carbamazepine ameliorated the behavioral alterations of the mutants, as did the mixed serotonin receptor agonist quipazine and the specific 5-HT2C receptor agonist CP-809101. Testing the relevance of the genetic networks specifying monoaminergic neurons for BPD in humans, we applied an interval-based enrichment analysis tool for genome-wide association studies. We observed that the genes specifying DA and 5-HT neurons exhibit a significant level of aggregated association with BPD but not with schizophrenia or major depressive disorder. The results of our translational study suggest that aberrant development of monoaminergic neurons leads to mood fluctuations and may be associated with BPD.




Manuel Carreiras

Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Bilbao, Spain


  • Reading
  • Bilingualism
  • Visual word recognition
  • Sentence processing
  • Sign language
  • Neurodegeneration of language


  • Do handwritten words magnify lexical effects in visual-word recognition? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
  • Does bilingualism shape inhibitory control in the elderly? Journal of Memory & Language.
  • Emergent bilingualism and Working Memory development in school aged children. Language Learning.


LECTURE TITLE: The bilingual brain: Plasticity and processing from cradle to grave


ABSTRACT: Most people either learn more than one language from birth or invest quite a lot of time and effort learning a second language. Bilingualism and second language learning is an interesting case for investigating cognitive and brain plasticity. In this talk (1) I will challenge the “bilingual advantage” and (2) will describe behavioral and neuroimaging evidence on the cognitive and brain mechanisms that adults and infants (monlinguals, bilinguals and second language learners) use for processing languages. In particular I will address whether proficient second language learners use similar or different brain mechanisms during processing and what are the neural consequences (structural and functional) of dealing with two languages.



Maria del Mar Dierssen Sotos

Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Medical Neurosciences
  • Biological Psychology
  • Neurobiology and Brain Physiology


  • Overexpression of Dyrk1A, a Down Syndrome Candidate, Decreases Excitability and Impairs Gamma Oscillations in the Prefrontal Cortex
  • Human DNA methylomes of neurodegenerative diseases show common epigenomic patterns
  • Principal Component Analysis of the Effects of Environmental Enrichment and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate on Age-Associated Learning Deficits in a Mouse Model of Down Syndrome

LECTURE TITLE: The challenge of understanding intellectual disability in Down syndrome


ABSTRACT: Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic form of intellectual disability, with an estimated incidence of more than 200,000 cases per year worldwide. In DS brain, suboptimal network architecture and altered synaptic communication arising from neurodevelopmental impairment are key determinants of cognitive defects. Abnormal number, size or shape of dendrites and dendritic spines has been described in Down syndrome (DS) that correlate with learning and memory impairment. While many labs, including ours, have studied the brain structural alterations of different intellectual disability disorders, almost no information exists on how those lead to intellectual disability. Interestingly, either increasing or decreasing the number of dendritic spines (that act as neuronal connectors) will have detrimental effects on cognition. Regardless of their molecular cause, most intellectual disabilities are characterised by neural plasticity disruption, and therefore this is a natural target for therapeutic purposes. Our group has demonstrated that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the most abundant catechin of green tea, promotes learning and memory recovery, and produces extensive dendritic remodeling in DS mouse models and significantly improves memory, executive functions and adaptive behavior along with increased functional connectivity in specific brain regions of DS adults (Phase I and Phase II clinical trials). This has been a crucial step in treating intellectual disability that has opened new important questions.




Chris de Zeeuw
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Medical Center (MC), Rotterdam, Netherlands





EBBS Sponsored lecture

  • Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Science
  • Medical Neurosciences
  • Sleep, memory and learning
  • Cognitive Neupsychology
  • fMRI
  • Computational Modeling
  • Brain Connectivity
  • Behavioral Analysis


  • Synaptic vesicle dynamic changes in a model of fragile X
  • Cerebellar function and ischemic brain lesions in migraine patients from the general population
  • Tactile Stimulation Evokes Long-Lasting Potentiation of Purkinje Cell Discharge In Vivo
  • Excitatory Cerebellar Nucleocortical Circuit Provides Internal Amplification during Associative Conditioning


LECTURE TITLE: Cerebellar Modules and Learning Rules


ABSTRACT: The olivocerebellar system can be divided into modules that control a particular domain in motor and/or cognitive processing. Each module integrates the activity of Purkinje cells in the cerebellar cortex, cerebellar nuclei neurons and neurons in the inferior olive. Interestingly, the modules can be divided in at least two main types, characterized by the presence or absence of zebrin. Those that do and do not express zebrin show an intrinsic average firing frequency of approximately 60 and 90 Hz, respectively. In this lecture I will highlight the impact of this organization on the rules that guide cerebellar learning. Whereas the zebrin-positive zones, such as those controlling adaptation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex, appear to engage plasticity mechanisms that increase simple spike firing frequency during learning, the zebrin-negative zones, such as those controlling Pavlovian eyeblink conditioning, seem to trigger mechanisms that suppress simple spike activity. These different cerebellar cortical mechanisms will also induce different processes downstream in the vestibular and cerebellar nuclei, including slower tonic changes and faster rebound activity, respectively. Finally, the different intrinsic activity within the olivocerebellar modules will also affect the pathogenesis of cerebellar diseases, with Purkinje cell death occurring most prominently in zebrin-negative zones presumably reflecting enhanced cytotoxicity.




Dick Jaarsma

Erasmus MC, Rotterdam


  • Cell Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Neurobiology
  • Animal Models


  • Dynein Regulator NDEL1 Controls Polarized Cargo Transport at the Axon Initial Segment
  • Cytoplasmic dynein and its regulatory proteins in Golgi pathology in nervous system disorders
  • Editorial on the Honorary Cerebellum Issue for the Retirement of Enrico Mugnaini

ABSTRACT TITLE: An automated horizontal ladder for locomotion analysis in mice


ABSTRACT: A variety of tests have been designed to examine motor function in mouse models of neurological and psychiatric disorder. Quantitative analysis of locomotion with automated gait analysis devices provide new opportunities to measure disease progression and evaluate the effect of interventional approaches. A recently developed automated horizontal ladder (Erasmus ladder, Vinueza-Veloz, et al., Brain Struct Funct 220:3513) allows the study of several gait parameters, including step time, step length, slips and interlimb coordination, as well as aspects of motivation and avoidance behavior. The apparatus has been used in cross-sectional studies as a ‘phenotyper’ of different types of cerebellar mutants (Vinueza-Veloz,et al., Brain Struct Funct 220:3513). We have found that the ladder is a powerful tool for monitoring disease course in mouse models of progressive adult-onset cerebellar disease. In addition, the apparatus uncovered unique locomotor patterns in non-cerebellar mouse models further validating the ladder as a ‘phenotyper’ tool in genetic screens. The Erasmus ladder remains to be evaluated and standardized across different laboratories.




Ewelina Knapska

Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland


  Current research activities:
  • Socially transferred fear – the neural basis of empathy
  • Neural mechanisms of impaired social behaviors.
  • The neural mechanisms of extinction and renewal of learned fears



  • Functional anatomy of neural circuits regulating fear and extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA
  • Between subject transfer of emotional information evokes specific pattern of amygdala activation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA


LECTURE TITLE: How to study neuronal correlates of emotional contagion in rats?


ABSTRACT: Emotional contagion means sharing negative or positive emotional states between individuals. It is considered the simplest form of empathy, from which more elaborated forms evolved. Tuning one's emotional state to that of another increases the probability of similar behavior, which thereby allows for a rapid adaptation to environmental challenges. Emotional contagion, commonly observed in animals, including rodents, is well described at the behavioral level, but the neuronal circuits necessary for sharing emotions are not well understood. To study role of neuronal circuits involved in this phenomenon, we need simple animal models. We have developed such models in rats for both negative and positive social emotions. In these models, rats either interact with a fearful partner, observe a partner in danger or are reunited after social isolation. We showed that such models can be used to study the role of neuronal circuits in the amygdala in control of socially transferred emotions. To manipulate activity of neurons involved during social interaction, we use c-fos-driven expression of light-activated opsins that are expressed only in neurons that were activated by social interaction. Then, by optogenetic activation and inhibition of these neurons combined with observations of the resulting behavioral changes, we can draw conclusions about the function of the neurons activated in different parts of the amygdala by social interaction. We hope that the methods we have developed will help to shed some light on mechanisms of social behaviors, which are still largely unknown.




Marek Łos

Dept. Clinical & Experimental Medicine, Integrative Regenerative Med. Center (IGEN), Linköping University Sweden



LECTURE TITLE: Modern approaches of regenerative medicine - production of corneal limbal cells as an example


ABSTRACT: Current regenerative medicine technologies allow for in vitro-production of organs and tissues and their therapeutic replacement. Modern techniques offer a vide range of natural and synthetic biomaterial that fulfill the biomechanical requirements of tissue scaffolds. The cellular component of tissues and organs is typically individually made from recipient’s own cells, so that the histocompatibility is perfectly matched (isografty-type transplantation). The corneal epithelium is maintained by a small pool of tissue stem cells located at the limbus. Through certain injuries or diseases this pool of stem cells may get depleted. This leads to visual impairment. Standard treatment options include autologous or allogeneic limbal stem cell (LSC) transplantation, however graft rejection and chronic inflammation lowers the success rate over long time. Transdifferentiation technology as well as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have opened new possibilities for treating various diseases with patient specific cells, eliminating the risk of immune rejection. In recent years, several protocols have been developed, aimed at the differentiation of iPS cells into the corneal epithelial lineage by mimicking the environmental niche of limbal stem cells. However, the risk of teratoma formation associated with the use of iPS cells hinders most applications from lab into clinics. We have optimized the protocol for the differentiation of iPS cells into corneal epithelial cells. Such obtained cells express corneal epithelial markers showing a successful differentiation, however the process is long and the level of gene expression for the pluripotency markers does not vanish completely. Therefore we have also developed a direct transdifferentiation approach to circumvent the intermediate state of pluripotency (iPS-stage). The resulting cells, obtained by direct transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into limbal cells, exhibited corneal epithelial cell morphology and expressed corneal epithelial markers. The transdifferentiation protocol appears to work much more efficiently than reprogramming with the subsequent differentiation into corneal limbal cells. Direct transdifferentiation of human dermal fibroblasts into the corneal epithelial lineage may serve as source for corneal epithelial cells for transplantation approaches.




Alex Mauss

Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried, Germany


  • Cell Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiology


  • Neural Circuit to Integrate Opposing Motions in the Visual Field
  • Development of Connectivity in a Motoneuronal Network in Drosophila Larvae
  • MicroRNA-8 promotes robust motor axon targeting by coordinate regulation of cell adhesion molecules during synapse development


  • Young Scientist Award 2016


LECTURE TITLE: Neural mechanisms underlying flow-field selectivity and visually guided course control in Drosophila


ABSTRACT: We perceive many aspects of our visual environment effortlessly yet this requires sophisticated signal processing in complicated brain circuits. A vital source of information is provided by visual motion, which is encoded in the temporal sequence of signals across the retina. It is commonly thought that retinal image slip is used by animals to counteract unintended body movements. In line with this view, many animals turn syn-directionally with moving patterns, termed “optomotor response”. Work in the past decades in a variety of animals has identified wide-field motion-sensitive neurons potentially important in this context. However, due to complex and distributed circuitry especially in vertebrates, it has been challenging to determine how they obtain their flow-field selectivity and how their activity is causally related to optomotor behavior.


Apart from vertebrates, arthropods represent another major animal group with sophisticated visual systems. Especially the fruit fly Drosophila has emerged as a fascinating model system: first, it offers an extensive genetic tool box developed over many decades enabling us to visualize and manipulate neurons selectively in many ways; second, neurons are generally uniquely identifiable, allowing their unequivocal comparison across experimental conditions, which greatly facilitates data interpretation; and third, the Drosophila brain is of moderate numerical complexity, holding promise of reaching an integrative understanding of brain function at all levels, from sensory perception to motor action, in a single species.


I will focus on how wide-field motion-sensitive neurons in Drosophila obtain their response properties. One important presynaptic element are cholinergic local motion sensors, so-called T4/T5 cells, which carry retinotopic excitatory signals of the same directional preference to wide-field cells. In addition, we have identified a new local cell type receiving oppositely tuned T4/T5 input and conveying it to wide-field cells via glutamatergic inhibitory synapses. These two synaptic inputs give rise to motion-opponent responses in wide-field cells, i.e. preferred direction excitation and anti-preferred direction inhibition. Our neurogenetic silencing experiments suggest that such motion opponent subtraction, as observed in many species, is essential to ensure flow-field selectivity. I will further describe our ongoing efforts to define the causal roles of wide-field motion sensors in visually guided behavior.






Alicja Niedźwiecka

Neurocognitive Development Lab, Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw


  • Developmental Psychology
  • Emotion
  • Experimental Psychology


  • Gaze-cueing effect depends on facial expression of emotion in 9-to 12-month-old infants


LECTURE TITLE: Parent-infant interactions and infant cognitive development


ABSTRACT: The quality of parent-infant interactions during the first year of life affects long-term developmental outcomes. By interacting with their parents, infants learn how to regulate their attention, emotion and behaviour. I will outline the main approaches to the analysis of parent-infant interactions and discuss their methodological constraints. I will present results of studies demonstrating the associations between interactive behaviours in parent-infant dyads and infant cognitive development in low-risk infants and in infants at risk for autism. I will conclude by presenting prospective studies using recurrence quantification analysis of gaze and movement data obtained during parent-infant play.



John Oberdick

Department of Neuroscience, The Ohio State University


  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Neuroscience


  • p75 Regulates Purkinje Cell Firing by Modulating SK Channel Activity through Rac1
  • Whole transcriptome RNA-Seq allelic expression in human brain
  • Analysis of Gene Networks in Cerebellar Development


LECTURE no. 1 TITLE: Developing a preventive pharmacotherapy for neonatal abstinence syndrome


ABSTRACT no. 1: Prolonged fetal exposure to opioids results in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a major medical problem requiring intensive care and increased hospitalization times for NAS newborns. Using mass spectrometry our lab has recently shown that 6b-naltrexol (6BN), a mu opioid antagonist, can cross the placenta and enter the fetal brain of mice, while it is relatively excluded from the maternal brain by virtue of the blood brain barrier (BBB). In this same study we showed that the BBB of mice remains undeveloped until after postnatal day 14. This finding has allowed us to use the postnatal mouse model to show that in the absence of the BBB, co-administration of 6BN with morphine can prevent morphine-induced withdrawal behaviors at extremely low doses. These data suggest that 6BN or derivatives could be co-delivered with opioids during pregnancy and used to prevent NAS at doses that should, in principle, have no effect on maternal pain and/or opioid maintenance therapy. In addition, 6BN is the main metabolite of naltrexone in humans, which has been approved for treatment of alcoholism. Therefore, we expect that the safety profile of 6BN favors its rapid development as a NAS pharmacotherapy.


LECTURE no. 2 TITLE: The L7 gene and control of emotional behaviors by the cerebellum


ABSTRACT no. 2: The primary functions of the cerebellum are i) motor coordination, achieved by integration of sensory input with motor output, and ii) motor learning. Nevertheless, many studies both in humans and in animals have suggested non-motor functions of the cerebellum primarily in the cognitive and emotional realms. Genetic analysis of the cerebellar role in non-motor behaviors is complicated by the fact that inactivation of most genes relevant to cerebellar function results in motor defects, which can obscure the scoring of non-motor behaviors, and in addition very few genes are expressed exclusively in the cerebellum necessitating complex conditional approaches for cerebellum-specific gene inactivation. The L7 (Pcp2, Gpsm4) gene encodes a bidirectional modulator of Gi/oPCR’s (GPCR’s that signal through the Gi/o subfamily of Galpha heterotrimeric subunits). These receptors, when activated, act to activate GIRK-type potassium channels and inhibit voltage-dependent calcium channels thereby damping electrical activity of neurons. L7 has the unique property of highly restricted expression in cerebellar Purkinje cells. When the gene is globally inactivated in mice there are no observable motor coordination defects; rather there are significant changes in locomotion-based anxiety behaviors and the dynamics of tone-cued fear conditioning. Oddly these changes are sexually dimorphic. We also have shown that L7 is a direct transcriptional target of the autism gene, RORA, which encodes a transcription factor in the nuclear receptor superfamily. Based on these studies we suggest that L7 and the Gi/o pathway, and by implication both 2-adrenergic and selected serotonin receptors in Purkinje cells, are important components of an emotional control function of the cerebellum.



Natalia Pawlas

Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, Sosnowiec



LECTURE TITLE: New psychoactive substances


ABSTRACT: Recently we witness of development of large amount of new psychoactive substances. They are known as designer drugs, legal highs, herbal highs, party pills, boosters and smart drugs. They are defined as “A new psychoactive substance (NPS) is defined as 'a new narcotic or psychotropic drug, in pure form or in preparation, that is not controlled by the United Nations drug conventions, but which may pose a public health threat comparable to that posed by substances listed in these conventions” according to European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. In Poland it appeared to be a problem in 2008, but in 2015 we observed and enormous amount of poisoning, including lethal ones. Most of those new psychoactive substances consists of phenylethamines- their chemical structure is similar to amphetamines and their derivatives and synthetic cannabinoids. There is a large number of web pages presenting the recipes for home synthesis as well as impressions of users. The legislation process in Poland is inefficient in banning the production and marketing. Users may become addicted to those substances very easily and fast due to their properties. The review of current NPSs, their mechanisms of action will be presented.



Christopher Pryce

Preclinical Laboratory for Translational Research into Affective Disorders (PLaTRAD), Switzerland


  • The pro-inflammatory cytokine hypothesis of depression: an integrative study of mouse models to investigate cytokine mediation of the effects of psychosocial stress on emotional-cognitive dysfunction
  • Investigation into effects of agomelatine on reward processing and circadian activity in mouse models of depression: focus on agomelatine’s mechanism of antidepressant action
  • Causal effects of increased pro-inflammatory cytokine expression in the mouse brain on circuitry, cellular and behavioural phenotypes relevant to the aetio-pathology of human depression



  • Translating the evidence for gene association with depression into mouse models of depression-relevant behaviour: current limitations and future potential.
  • Establishing a learned-helplessness effect paradigm in C57BL/6 mice: behavioural evidence for emotional, motivational and cognitive effects of aversive uncontrollability per se
  • Helplessness: a systematic translational review of theory and evidence for its relevance to understanding and treating depression.


LECTURE TITLE: Mouse models for the study of behavioural states corresponding to RDoC psychopathologies


ABSTRACT: The research domain criteria (RDoC) project, a new framework for classifying mental disorders based on observable behaviours and neurological measures, has provided fresh impetus for animal model research. Domains-dimensions include: negative valence e.g. fear, anxiety; positive valence e.g. effortful motivation for reward, reward learning; cognitive systems e.g. control; systems for social processes e.g. social affiliation and communication; and arousal/modulatory systems e.g. biological rhythms. These behavioural dimensions can be quantified in humans, and they also provide the opportunity to establish objective, translational tests in mice. For negative valence in mice, in collaboration with TSE we developed the Multi Conditioning system, which allows for the simultaneous testing of motor activity, Pavlovian fear learning/memory, anxiety, and active avoidance, escape and loss of control (Pryce et al., 2012). For positive valence in mice, we have applied TSE operant chambers and IntelliCage to establish tests of effortful reward motivation, learned non-reward, probabilistic reversal learning, and circadian distribution of reward motivation (Ineichen et al., 2012). With respect to the regulation of these translational behavioural dimensions, we used pharmacological depletion of nucleus accumbens dopamine to demonstrate its importance in the regulation of effortful operant responding for: reward, a stimulus recently associated with non-reward, and to escape footshock recently experienced as uncontrollable. That is, accumbens dopamine depletion results in motivation pathologies under effortful conditions (Bergamini et al., 2016). Interestingly, chronic psychosocial stress resulted in these same motivation pathologies, as well as leading to increased Pavlovian fear learning and decreased reward motivation in the home cage (Azzinnari et al., 2014; Fuertig et al., 2016). Chronic psychosocial stress induced immune-inflammation, including in the dopamine system, and its behavioural effects could be reduced (but not entirely reversed) by the antidepressants fluoxetine and agomelatine, the dopamine reuptake inhibitor vanoxerine, and an inhibitor of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (Fuertig et al., 2016).




Diana Reiss

Hunter College, New York, USA


  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Science and Artificial Thinking
  • Social Cognition
  • Cognition
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence
  • Consciousness


  • Acoustic and behavioral repertoires of the hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)
  • A Study of Variation in Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Whistles at Turneffe Atoll, Belize, Using Two Acoustic Monitoring Techniques
  • Foraging-related Calls Produced by Bottlenose Dolphins at Turneffe Atoll, Belize


LECTURE TITLE: Mirror Self-Recognition: Reflections of Dolphin and Elephant Cognition


ABSTRACT: Mirror self-recognition (MSR), a level of self-awareness once considered to be uniquely human, has only been demonstrated in handful of other species. Our comparative studies of MSR with bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) have revealed striking similarities in both the stages of emergence of this ability and in the behaviors exhibited at the mirror by dolphins, elephants, humans and a great apes. These results provide evidence for cognitive convergence in these species.



Gernot Riedel

University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen


  • Animal Behavior
  • Animal Physiology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Neuronal human BACE1 knockin induces systemic diabetes in mice
  • Mutant Tau knock-in mice display frontotemporal dementia relevant behaviour and histopathology
  • Computer aided movement analysis of MPTP mouse on inverted horizontal grid


LECTURE TITLE: Inter- versus intra-laboratory comparison of home cage behaviour


ABSTRACT: Preclinical and especially behavioural neuroscience is under increasing scrutiny due to the growing perception of irreproducibility of recorded and published data. The recent summary of Michael Jarvis and Michael Williams in TINS (2016) is the recent summary of a multitude of reports and efforts to improve this issue many of which have concentrated on the improvement and standardisation of reporting practices. A critical issue is the question of time during which experiments are conducted and whether it is appropriate for rodent experiments to be undertaken in the light phase of the cycle when rodents are typically asleep (see Hawkins and Golledge, 2016). While this typically applies to tests conducted in recording units different from the home cage, one would predict that independent whether a normal or inverted circadian rhythm is run in the holding unit, home cage observations should generate reproducible results. Experiments here describe a binary approach, comparing circadian activity between two laboratories running on an inverted day/night cycle followed by a comparison of normal versus inverted cycle home cage activity within the same animal unit. While the overall circadian activity was reproduced in both laboratories there were considerable differences in the absolute levels of activity for C57BL/6JOlaHsd and DBA/2OlaHsd mice. Even the comparison between normal and inverted cycle within the same facility returned several anomalies in activity levels, which counter the expectation that harmonisation of experiments can achieve identical experimental outcomes. Here, we purposefully maintained identical study designs and apart from small differences in feeding and standard holding regimes, this standardisation was not sufficient to produce identical data. We feel that one of the more important factors, the global environment of the test facility, work surrounding the test rooms etc. are of greater importance if one wants to increase robustness of experimental results within and between laboratories.



Iwona Sarzyńska-Długosz

2nd Department of Neurology, Neurorehabilitation Ward, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland



LECTURE TITLE: Multimodal sensory stimulation in severe disorders of consciousness


ABSTRACT: Survival and the outcome of patients in severe disorders of consciousness have improved significantly over the last two decades. Adequate medical care and neurorehabiltiation interventions are mandatory to cope with severe disorders of consciousness such as vegetative state/unresponsive wakefullness syndrome or minimally conscious state and to help promote the recovery. Treatment in persons in vegetative state or minimally conscious state remains very much empirical at present, however the principles and basic techniques of multisensory stimulation - especially the general rules of visual, auditory, smell, taste, touch, movement and position stimulation will be discussed. Recent research developments, scientific evidence of benefit of pharmacotherapy and neural stimulation and future directions for research in severe disorders of consciousness will be presented.



Karl Schilling

Institute of Anatomy, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, Germany




  • Preferential Delivery of an Opioid Antagonist to the Fetal Brain in Pregnant Mice.
  • Development and differentiation of cerebellar inhibitory interneurons
  • Efficient analysis of limited-choice experiments
  • Consensus Paper: Cerebellar Development.

LECTURE TITLE: Quantifying and interpreting behavior: making sensible use of basic statistics


ABSTRACT: In several behavioral tests, subjects are confronted with a limited set of predefined choices they may make. Preferences are then quantified by counting how often a given choice is taken, or measuring the time spent on that choice. The sensible interpretation of such data requires to consider how alternatives were valued. This relative perspective implies that individual measurements are highly correlated; in technical parlance, such data are referred to as compositional.

This special data structure has important consequences on how measurements may be best analyzed and interpreted: Specifically, the fact that we do not deal with absolute, independent measures precludes their efficient and reliable analysis with standard parametric methods such as t-tests or ANOVA - which nonetheless are typically applied to them.

I will briefly sketch, from a biomedical perspective, and using widely familiar examples, the problems inherent in traditional statistical approaches to data resultant from limited choice behavioral experiments, and I will outline methodology and procedures appropriate for such data. The methods presented have a solid theoretical footing, and they are widely used in fields such as geology or social sciences, which routinely deal with data of compositional structure. Lastly, they are readily implemented in standard (and free) statistical software, notably R, the lingua franca of modern statistics. A key advantage of the approach suggested is that it takes advantage of, and allows to probe, the intrinsically multivariate structure of the data. Consequently, it entails a much more efficient use and interpretability of the data than traditional approaches.




Bert Timmermans

School of Psychology, King's College Aberdeen. UK


  • Social cognition: social interaction, action contingencies & interaction dynamics, gaze & eye tracking, social reward, virtual avatars.
  • Consciousness: perceptual awareness and metacognition, implicit learning, subliminal perception


  • Nonconscious learning from crowded sequences
  • Effects of observing eye contact on gaze following in high-functioning autism
  • "Making it explicit" makes a difference: Evidence for a dissociation of spontaneous and intentional level 1 perspective taking in high-functioning autism
  • Different subjective awareness measures demonstrate the influence of visual identification on perceptual awareness ratings


LECTURE TITLE: Dual interactive eye tracking with virtual avatars: Interaction dynamics predicting behavioral outcomes


ABSTRACT: Recent interactionist views on social cognition suggest that the most under-studied and important aspect of social cognition may be interaction dynamics. However, it has hitherto proven extremely difficult to devise a controlled setup in which social cues, such as eye gaze, are subject to unconstrained interaction.

To address these issues, we use a Dual interactive eye-tracking with Virtual anthropomorphic Avatars (DiVA). Participants are presented with the face of an anthropomorphic avatar, the eye movements of which are linked in real-time to another participant’s eye-gaze. This allows for control of interaction aspects that are not related to the experience of gaze contingency.

Participants have to choose which one out of two spheres on either side of the avatar face is the largest. These spheres can have a medium, small, and no difference. Gaze dynamics guide choices. Using cross-recurrence quantification, we analyse the time course of the gaze interactions and look at how this predicts individual and joint decisions about sphere size, which participant will follow the other. Application of the DiVA technique for studying social interaction will be discussed.




Michał Toborek

Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami




  • Found that exercise is a modifiable behavioral factor that can influence the development of experimental brain metastasis
  • Established models of brain metastasis in mice
  • Performed detailed studies on the mechanisms of PCB-mediated facilitation of brain metastasis development

LECTURE TITLE: Running interference: physical activity prevents methamphetamine-induced aberrant neurogenesis


ABSTRACT: While no effective therapy is available for the treatment of methamphetamine (METH)-induced neurotoxicity and cognitive dysfunction, behavioral interventions, including aerobic exercise, are being proposed to improve depressive symptoms and substance abuse outcomes. The present study focuses on the effect of exercise on METH-induced aberrant neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) in the context of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) pathology. Mice were administered with METH or saline (vehicle) by i.p. injections three times per day for 5 days with an escalating dose regimen in 4 h intervals, starting from 0.2 mg/kg. One set of mice was sacrificed 24 h post last injection of METH, and the remaining animals were either subjected to voluntary wheel running (exercised mice) or remained in sedentary housing (the sedentary group). METH administration resulted in decreased expression of tight junction (TJ) proteins and increased BBB permeability in the hippocampus. These changes were preserved post METH administration in sedentary mice and were associated with the development of significant aberrations of neural differentiation. Exercise protected against these effects by enhancing the protein expression of TJ proteins, stabilizing the BBB integrity, and enhancing differentiation of progenitor cells to neuronal lineage. In addition, exercise protected against METH-induced systemic increase in inflammatory cytokine levels. These results suggest that exercise can attenuate METH-induced neurotoxicity by protecting against the BBB disruption and related microenvironmental changes in the hippocampus. This work was supported, in whole or in part, by National Institutes of Health Grants DA039576, DA027569, HL126559, MH098891, MH072567, and NSC 2015/17/B/NZ7/02985.




Przemyslaw Tomalski

Neurocognitive Development Lab and Developmental Psychology Unit, Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw, Poland


  • Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology
  • Medical Neurosciences
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuroimaging


  • The two-process theory of face processing: Modifications based on two decades of data from infants and adults
  • Socioeconomic status and functional brain development—Associations in early infancy
  • Separating the effects of ethnicity and socio-economic status on sleep practices of 6- to 7-month-old infants


LECTURE TITLE: Measuring and training attention control in infancy with eye-tracking


ABSTRACT: Research in the area of developmental cognitive neuroscience has greatly benefitted from recent advancements in eye-tracking methodology.
It allows to measure the developmental change in many aspects of developing attention networks and to collect additional psychophysiological data on pupil dilation.
During the talk I will present some of our recent work with infants as young as 6 months of age to show how eye-tracking can be reliably used to study the development of specific aspects of attentional selection and disengagement. I will also discuss the use of eye-tracking in clinical assessment and training of attention in infants and young children.



Jennifer Vonk

Oakland Univeristy, USA


  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Science
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Animal Behavior
  • Social Cognition
  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Animal Cognition


  • Man’s other best friend: Domestic cats (F. silvestris catus) and their understanding of human emotion cues.
  • Do dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) recognize kin?
  • What do natural categorization studies tell us about apes and bears?


LECTURE TITLE: Bear-ly scratching the surface of Bear Cognition.


ABSTRACT: I will present data from studies of natural category discrimination, quantity estimation, object/picture recognition and perhaps some new data on behavioral flexibility and innovation. Most of the data will come from black bears although we have now tested sun bears, grizzly bears and giant pandas on a multi-access box problem that involves inhibition and innovation.




Elena Wensler

TSE-System Inc.



LECTURE TITLE: New Insights in Behavioral Phenotyping: tools and instrumentations.


ABSTRACT: Characterization of animal models of human diseases often faces substantial data variability due to different test environment, suboptimal equipment, experimenter interference and animal stress. In recent years, TSE Systems has pioneered a home cage based research approach to increase animal welfare, reduce experimenter interference and increase throughput. I will present the audience a short overview over tools and instruments, developed by TSE Systems for the behavioral characterization of rats and mice:

  • complex phenotyping instrumentation PhenoMaster for behavioral and metabolic experiments
  • Intellicage - unique high throughput behavioral phenotyping tool in which animals can be investigated within their social context
  • MultiConditioning system for evaluation of learning and memory, as well as emotion and stress-related behaviors in mice and rats
  • Stellar telemetry system allows the parallel measurement of physiological parameters such as blood pressure, heard rate as well as ECG under group housing conditions during experiments

A special focus of the talk will be dedicated to the novel kinematic analysis system MotoRater, which enables characteristic locomotor phenotypes in mouse and rat models of neurodegenerative movement disorders. Movement analysis is not restricted to foot prints and gait analysis. The MotoRater observes the animal from 3 sides simultaneously and provides sensitive, specific and detailed readouts for movements of all relevant body parts, i.e. limbs, joints, tail, etc. - this makes MotoRater a unique translational tool given that motor (dys)function in humans is assessed the same way.




Anna Wilkinson

University of Lincoln, UK


  • Zoology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Animal Behavior
  • Animal Cognition


  • Touchscreen performance and knowledge transfer in the red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria)
  • Pigeons discriminate objects on the basis of abstract familiarity
  • Picture-object recognition in the tortoise Chelonoidis carbonaria

LECTURE TITLE: Cold-blooded cognition: comparisons across classes.


ABSTRACT: Very little is known about the cognitive abilities of reptiles. They have traditionally been considered to be “sluggish and unintelligent creatures” (Yerkes 1901, p 520) and have largely been ignored in the study of animal cognition. However, more recent research has revealed an impressive suite of cognitive abilities in this group. To gain an understanding of the evolution of cognition in amniotes, it is necessary to carry out direct experimental investigations of the learning and memory abilities of reptiles that parallel the extensive work already available in mammals and birds. Therefore, examination of the cognitive mechanisms underlying the behaviour of these animals can provide crucial information about the evolution of the brain. This talk will present some recent research on the cognitive abilities of reptiles and compare them to what is known about these processes in other animals.



Albert Willemsen

M.Sc. Noldus Information Technology bv, Wageningen, Netherlands


  • Anatomy
  • Human Biology
  • Animal Communication


  • The Observer XT: A tool for the integration and synchronization of multimodal signals


T. Wolny

The University of Dąbrowa Górnicza



LECTURE TITLE: Wpływ długotrwałego spożywania środków psychoaktywnych na rozwój czuciowej neuropatii obwodowej – doniesienie wstępne.


ABSTRACT: Neuropatia obwodowa oznacza zespół objawów, które powstają w wyniku uszkodzenia nerwu obwodowego, i które albo towarzyszą różnego rodzaju schorzeniom ogólnoustrojowym, albo też stanowią odrębną jednostkę chorobową. Do najczęściej występujących zalicza się neuropatię cukrzycową, neuropatie uciskowe oraz neuropatie niedoborowe i/lub toksyczne, do których należy neuropatia alkoholowa i ponarkotykowa. Neuropatia obwodowa charakteryzuje się różnymi objawami subiektywnymi jak ból, parestezje, drętwienia i mrowienia, oraz zaburzeniami o charakterze czuciowym i ruchowym, co może skutkować pogorszeniem jakości życia, ale również zwiększyć ryzyko uszkodzenia skóry wskutek urazów oraz zmniejszyć sprawność ręki zarówno podczas czynności zawodowych, jak i aktywności dnia codziennego. Jak do tej pory nie ma badań, które oceniały by, jak długotrwałe spożywanie środków psychoaktywnych (narkotyki, dopalacze) wpływa na czucie dyskryminacyjne dwupunktowe (2PD) palców rąk oraz czucie kinestetyczne siły (CKS) zginaczy ręki i kciuka oraz czucie kinestetyczne ruchu (CKR) w stawach promieniowo-nadgarstkowych osób uzależnionych w porównaniu z populacją osób nie spożywających środków psychoaktywnych.