Past MNS Meetings

The 5th Mediterranean Conference of Neuroscience

Italy, Santa Margherita di Pula, June 12-15, 2015

After four previous successful editions (Montpellier 1997; Marrakech 2006; Alexandria 2009; Istanbul 2012), the 5th Edition of the Meeting of the Mediterranean Neuroscience Society (MNS) took place in Santa Margherita di Pula (CA), Sardinia, Italy, on June 12-25, 2015. The 2015 MNS Meeting gathered 398 participants from 34 different Countries, including Canada, USA and Australia, and offered a rich scientific program with 6 Plenary Lecturers, 40 symposia, 1 Hot Topic Communications Session, 3 Oral Free Communication Sessions and 2 Poster Sessions. Social events included a welcome cocktail (June 12, afternoon), Wine & Cheese Poster Session (June 13 and 14, afternoon) and the Gala Dinner (June 14, evening) with folk music and dancing.

As detailed reported in the scientific program (click here to download), in this meeting we had the pleasure of welcoming an exceptional lineup of Lecturers from Spain (Carlos Belmonte), Italy (Gaetano Di Chiara), Sweden (Abdeljabbar El Manira), UK (Barry J Everitt) and USA (René Hen from Columbia University, and John Bruno from The Ohio University). The topics of the Lectures witnessed the interdisciplinary nature of the meeting by encompassing TRP channels, Dopamine and Reward, Neural circuits for motor behavior, Compulsive drug seeking habits in addiction, Hippocampal neurogenesis and Schizophrenia. The six Plenary Lecturers were partially sponsored by prestigious and Scientific Societies such as the European Brain Behaviour Society (EBBS), the Italian Society of Drug Addiction (SITD), the Spanish Society of Neuroscience (SENC) as well as by the Frontiers open-access Journals, the University of Cagliari (UNICA) and the local no-profit Organization NeuroSardynia. For the first time in MNS Meeting history, we had 2 Joint Symposia with COST Actions,  the COST Action CM1103 and the  COST Action FA1301– CephsInAction, along with a ISIS – NEUREN Joint Meeting.

In line with the scientific interests of symposia organizers and invited speakers, many symposia were focused on the pharmacological modulation of emotional states and behaviour as well as on the neurobiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. Drug and food addiction, pain, mood disorders (mostly anxiety and depression), motor impairment, animal models of neurological and psychiatric diseases, social and play behavior, memory, learning and cognition are only few examples. Indeed, speakers illustrated new advances on the nervous system functioning from molecular and cellular to behavioral level, including pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, and discussed the development of and novel therapeutic approaches to mental diseases, signaling mechanisms of lipid molecules like endocannabinoids, structural features and physiological roles of K+ channels, epigenetic mechanisms in pathological addictions, molecular regulation of the GABA-B receptor and much more. Particular attention has been given to gender differences in mental health and disease, to translational potentials of latest findings in basic research, to personal genomics in psychiatric disorders, and to the circadian clock as an interface between the physiological processes and the environment.  State-of-the art technology has been illustrated in dedicated symposia, along with newest discoveries on the role of brain neurotransmitters in regulating reward, memory, learning, cognition, sleep, motor functions, pain, eating behavior, stress and emotions.

Besides the symposia, four separate sessions of Oral Communications have been dedicated to the latest innovative findings (Hot Topic Session) and to youngest researchers (PhD and post-doc students) that have been selected based on the quality of the abstracts of their work (Free Oral Communications). During the two Wine & Cheese Poster Sessions, Poster Presenters (mostly PhD and post doc Students) had the opportunity to present their own work and to discuss data with senior neuroscientists coming from different disciplines and Mediterranean countries. The meetings have proved to be highly beneficial, not only for the scientific exchanges, but also in terms of training opportunities for students and young researchers.

Download the full Program Book


The 4th Mediterranean Conference of Neuroscience

Istanbul, Turkey, September 30 – October 3, 2012.

As decided in the General Assembly in Alexandria in 2009, this conference was held in Istanbul, an amazing city covering both sides of the Bosphorus. It is one of the most intriguing cities worldwide, both geographically, connecting Europe with Asia, and historically, since it housed various civilizations. The conference venue was the historical Military Museum, located in the heart of Istanbul (Harbiye) and opened in 1846.

This conference gathered Mediterranean countries and offered a rich program with lectures, symposia, poster sessions and social events. The scientific program was focused on latest advances in Integrative and Clinical Neurosciences, Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences, Neuroendocrinology, Cognitive, Computational and Theoretical Neurosciences. The meeting was highly beneficial not only for the scientific exchanges, but also in terms of training opportunities for students and young researchers.

Research on brain function in health and disease is among the priorities for today’s societies, and several indicators put the Mediterranean research area among strategic issues for the European Union (EU). Many South-North collaborations and networks have emerged in recent years through bilateral and multi-lateral actions, supported by the EU or by international and national actions, both for setting up teaching curricula and for building human potential. The MNS mission was to support and strengthen all initiatives that bring together Mediterranean neuroscientists.

Participants and abstracts of the Events are available on Frontiers website at:


Abdelhamid Benazzouz, MNS / University Bordeaux Segalen, Bordeaux, France,

Hagai Bergman, MNS / The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel,

Yasin Temel, MNS / Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands.

First Mediterranean Neuroscience Society Summer School

Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun (Turkey) – July 4-8, 2011
Stereotaxical surgery in neurological and psychiatric disorders

The first summer school of the MNS was held in Samsun University, Turkey, in July 2011. The topic of the course was Stereotaxic surgery in Neurological and Psychiatric disorders. After one day of Lectures, the participants had the opportunity to practice stereotaxy both in rodent and human phantom conditions. The venue was the Faculty of Medicine, Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey. Samsun is a key city in the Black Sea region of Turkey. The University is located on the hills of Samsun, again facing the black sea. It is one of the biggest universities of Turkey, with approximately 40 000 students.

In this Summer School there were 40 participants from different countries: Egypt, Iraq, Costa Rica, France, Netherlands. The majority of the participants were from Turkey. The MNS decided to sponsor three participants. The course was a success in terms of participation and organization. We are grateful to the hosting University, and City of Samsun, and express our special thanks to our sponsors, Alpha Omega, Medtronic, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and European Graduate School of Neuroscience.

In research conditions, stereotaxy is frequently used to deliver substances locally, or to implant cannulae (e.g. for repeated/chronic infusion of drugs or for neurochemical detection of neurotransmitters) or electrodes (for electrical stimulation or electrophysiological recording) with submillimetric precision. In other words, this technique allows the scientist to study research targets in the brain with high accuracy in animal models of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

In this course, participants received comprehensive tuition in the relevant scientific theory, and had an opportunity to apply their knowledge during ‘hands-on’ training in key stereotactic applications. The course was composed of two parts. In the first part, the participants received Lectures about the most common stereotactical procedures for neurological and psychiatric disorders. In the second session, participants received a hands-on training to apply their knowledge in research conditions.

The scientific part focused on the following subjects:

  • Ethics in Neuroscience. Here, the Lecturer has not only focused on the use of animals, but also on the ethics of data publishing and collaborating with other scientists and industry.
  • General principles of stereotactical surgery
  • General principles of in vivo electrophysiology: extracellular recordings and local field potential
  • Stereotactical surgery in Parkinson’s disease and dystonia
  • Stereotactical surgery in Tourette’s syndrome
  • Stereotactical surgery in depression and OCD
  • Stereotactical surgery in epilepsy with video EEG

In the practical part of the course, we focused on the three main scientific applications of stereotaxy, which are related to the abovementioned clinical applications.

1) Local drug delivery: stereotaxy is used to inject a drug in a large volume (part of a brain nucleus) or in a very small volume (few cells or one cell, usually iontophoretically). Local drug delivery is used to make lesions (a general lesion such as an excitotoxic lesion or a specific lesion such as neurotransmitter depletion) with high precision. In addition, this procedure is also used to deliver experimental drugs to modulate receptor activity. This technique has been discussed and shown.

2) Electrophysiological recordings: Electrophysiology is a widely used technique in Neuroscience. It can provide vital information about the function of neurons under physiological conditions and in disease. For the majority of the electrophysiological approaches, implantation of electrodes with high precision is necessary. Single-cell extracellular recordings, local field potentials, and the concept of EEG and SEEG recordings have been discussed and shown.

3) Electrical brain stimulation: This is a relatively novel technique to modulate the neuronal activity of a brain region of interest. It is an alternative to a lesion. Lesions are irreversible and cannot be adjusted once performed. Electrical stimulation is reversible (switching on and off) and is adjustable (stimulation parameters can be adjusted). DBS is nowadays a frequently used procedure to treat patients suffering from severe neurological (e.g. Parkinson disease) and psychiatric (e.g. Obsessive-Compulsive disorder) conditions. This technique has been discussed and shown.

The subjects for the hands-on course were laboratory rats. All the teaching experiments have been performed in line with the ethical standards of minimizing the number and suffering of laboratory animals, and permission have been asked to the local animal ethic committee.

Board members:

Dr. Y. Temel, Maastricht, the Netherlands. Course director.

Prof. Dr. S. Kaplan, Samsun, Turkey. Course co-director.

Dr. Z. Altunkaynak, Samsun, Turkey

Dr. A. Benazzouz, Bordeaux, France

Prof. Dr. H. Bergman, Jerusalem, Israel

Dr. D. Boussaoud, Marseille, France

Dr. Sinan Canan, Ankara, Turkey

Prof. Dr. P. Chauvel, Marseille, France

Dr. A. Kaya, Samsun, Turkey

Prof. Dr. B. Sahin, Samsun, Turkey

Prof. Dr. H. Steinbusch, Maastricht, the Netherlands

Prof. Dr. V. Visser-Vandewalle, Maastricht, the Netherlands

The 3rd Mediterranean Conference of Neuroscience

Alexandria, Egypt, 13 – 16 December 2009.

Hosted by the prestigious international cultural symbol, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, it gathered more than 250 participants from not only Mediterranean countries but also from Asia, northern Europe and the Americas. It was preceded by a 3-day mini-school of Neuroscience sponsored by the NFBRIE (Neuro Insight Foundation for Brain Research Initiatives in Egypt).

Many Neuroscience societies were represented in the conference: The French Neuroscience Society (Mohamed Jaber), the International Brain Research Organization (Marina Bentivoglio), the South-Mediterranean Neuroendocrine group (Mohamed Bennis), the Society of Neuroscientists of Africa (Nouria Lakhdar Ghazal), the Société de Neuroendocrinologie (several representatives) and the International Neuroendocrine Federation (William Rostene).

A total of 25 Symposia, 10 plenary lectures, 16 oral and 56 poster presentations were discussed during this international meeting and were published on Frontiers website (

The main achieved goal of this conference was to bring together top scientists to share their knowledge on how the brain works, how it guides our behaviour and the role played by the endocrine system in this amazing process. The far-reaching aim, however, was to build a collaborative network in Neuroscience, with much emphasis on structuring the Mediterranean research area. During the closing ceremony of the conference, a Mediterranean Neuroscience Society (MNS) has been created and an executive bureau elected. It was agreed to make its base in France and the presidency turning around Mediterranean countries (the first elected president is French: Driss Boussaoud and the first elected vice-president Egyptian: Marie Moftah).

A satellite event also took place during the conference. The first Strategic Management Committee meeting of the N€uroMed project was scheduled to gather the seven Euro-Mediterranean partners (Algeria, Egypt, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Turkey) around the table, where they discussed activities, work plans and workshops to be accomplished in the three upcoming years. This European project (FP7) aims at creating a Euro-Mediterranean network of Neuroscience, thus re-joining and supporting the creation of the MNS.

Marie Moftah, PhD, Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University.