BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience Comes to Ireland

Apr 12 2019 Posted: 09:53 IST

Next week will see almost 1,500 international neuroscientists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, patient advocates and patient organisations gather in Dublin for the ‘BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience’, the biggest neuroscience festival to be held in Europe in 2019 and the first time to be held outside of Britain. The Festival will take place from the 14-19 April in Dublin. 

Neuroscience, by definition, is the science of the brain and nervous system, but it is so much more than these simple words indicate. Our brain is the seat of our personalities, our identities, our thoughts, our emotions, our memories, our motivations, our perceptions, our creativity, our joys and our fears. Neuroscience encompasses everything from how our brains, spines and nerves develop whilst in the uterus, to how they continue to develop and adapt to our environments and lifestyles as we grow through infancy, through adolescence into adulthood, and on to death. It is also the study of brain and nervous system diseases and disorders including genetic conditions like Huntington’s disease; neurological conditions like epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and chronic debilitating pain; and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

Some of the latest Irish research being showcased includes how the bacteria in our gut can influence our brains, how concussion and brain injury affects children’s brains, how exercise can improve brain health in ageing, how medicinal cannabis could be harnessed to treat brain conditions, and many more topics.

Lead Irish Organiser and President of Neuroscience Ireland, Dr Eilís Dowd from NUI Galway, says: “The BNA Festivals of Neuroscience are unparalleled in their ability to draw together expertise from across different neuroscience domains and to stimulate cross-disciplinary discussion and collaboration. Hosting the event in Ireland will provide the Irish neuroscience community with the opportunity to showcase the very best of Irish neuroscience research, thereby building and strengthening British, European and International research collaborations and networks. Ultimately, it is such cross-disciplinary, collaborative research that will accelerate the development of new therapies for brain and nervous system conditions.” 

One of the unique features of the Festivals of Neuroscience is that they are a celebration of neuroscience that are not just open to the neuroscientists, neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists, but they are also open to everyone else. In parallel with the scientific conference which will be held in the Convention Centre Dublin from 14–17 April, there will also be a Public Festival of Neuroscience that will run in venues throughout Dublin from 13–19 April. A total of 17 public events, coordinated by 30 organisations and 45 individuals, will feature in the programme, and there is something for anyone with an interest in neuroscience

Lead Organiser of the Public Programme, Dr Áine Kelly, TCD, said: “The public outreach programme of the Festival of Neuroscience provides wonderful opportunities for the general public to hear about brain health and brain research directly from world-leading neuroscience researchers. Many events focus on neurological or psychiatric conditions, and are designed to encourage interaction between patients, carers, clinicians and researchers. These include events on Huntington’s disease, delirium, depression, teenage mental health and epilepsy. There is a strong arts focus to the programme, which includes films screenings, music and dance performances, a neuroscience-themed art installation and an interactive event on ageing and the arts. The programme caters for all tastes and interests and most events have a social element, with time dedicated to discussion and interaction. There really is something for everyone, so come along, learn, enjoy!”

Neuroscience Ireland is Ireland’s official neuroscience society, a charitable organisation that promotes and supports neuroscience research in all of the major Irish academic institutions, as well as in several major Science Foundation Ireland multi-institutional research centres including APC (Microbiome Ireland), CÚRAM (the Centre for Research in Medical Devices), FutureNeuro (the Centre for Neurological Diseases), and INFANT (the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research).

Networking and collaboration between Irish neuroscience researchers is facilitated by several neuroscience networks in Ireland including Neuroscience Ireland, the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network Ireland, the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, and the Irish Brain Council, and is supported financially by the Irish Government through Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, as well as through funding from the European Union, the Wellcome Trust, and many other national and international sources, including several Irish patient organisations.

For more information about the BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience, visit:  

Follow on Twitter @NeuroscienceIRL, @BritishNeuro and #BNA2019.


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