2016 Excellent Paper in Neuroscience Award (EPNA) ceremony

This year’s Excellent Paper in Neuroscience Award (EPNA) ceremony took place within the NEURON MidTerm symposium of projects funded under JTC 2015 ‘ Neurodevelopmental disorders’ and ‘Ethical, Legal, and Social Aspects (ELSA) of Neuroscience’. Marlies Dorlöchter, COO of NEURON opened the symposium by stating that altogether in the nine NEURON biomedical calls around 100 million € were spent for 100 transnational research consortia that involved 450 research groups (PIs).

The award ceremony was opened by Erkki Raulo (AKA, Finland) as work package leader of the NEURON’s activities for early career scientists. These include as support measures networking activities, partnering with the Cajal training programme and the annual EPNA call.

The award paper was presented by the awardee Dr. Gabriele Deidda entitled ‘Reversing excitatory GABAAR signaling restores synaptic plasticity and memory in a mouse model of Down syndrome’. The paper was published in Nature Medicine in April 2015.

The project started in 2012 and comprised Deidda’s PhD thesis and one year as post-doc at the ‘Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia’ in Genova, an Italian center of excellence. As he pointed out: “The main significance of the work is to have proposed a new and safe therapeutic approach that can be readily translatable into clinical trials for the potential rescue of cognitive disabilities in individuals with Down syndrome, a currently unmet medical need.” The paper was very well taken by the symposium’s audience and received a few scientific questions that witnessed the impact of the research and further perspectives.

Professionally, Deidda moved in 2016 to the Cardiff School of Biosciences at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. There he works on another neurodevelopmental disorder collaborative project and had already scientific exchange stations in Malta and Paris. For him “..it is important to grow as a scientist with exciting projects and reliable work” for another post-doc period before thinking of an independent research project and group. With the Nature medicine publication and the NEURON award he might be very well disposed to do so as also the applause at the end of the ceremony testified.