Recap of ERA-Net NEURON Plenary Lecture at the FENS Forum 2024 in Vienna

On Friday, June 28th, 2024 the ERA-Net NEURON plenary lecture was given by Dr. Asya Rolls (Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Israel) on the topic ‘Bridging Mind and Body through Neuroimmunology’.

The introduction was provided by the ERA-Net NEURON coordinator Dr. Ulrike Busshoff, who pointed out that the ERA-Net NEURON is a funding organisations platform focused on brain-related diseases and disorders of the nervous system and holds a strategic position in bringing pre-clinical and clinical research communities closer together by fostering translational research.

The ERA-Net NEURON plenary lecture at the FENS Forum is intended to support and promote the presentation of cutting-edge research in neuroscience. Dr. Busshoff continued that Dr. Rolls was one of the first two winners of the NEURON “Excellent Paper in Neuroscience Award“ (EPNA), and received the award on her publication in PLoS Medicine in 2008. That award ceremony took place 15 years ago during the 7th FENS meeting in Amsterdam.

Since then, Dr. Rolls scientific career comprised the Adelis Brain Research Award, the Krill Prize, two European Research Council Grants, the election to the Israel Young Academy of Sciences and the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence. She is recognized as one of 40 international researchers by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a full professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the Technion in Israel. Roll’s lab explores the connection between the brain and the immune system whereby she specifically focuses on how the biological mechanisms underlying the impact of emotions and cognition on immune function and physical health. She was one of the first to establish the link between the brain’s reward system and the immune system, but she is also interested in exploring the role of cognitive processes in tumor immunity.

More than 700 FENS attendees witnessed the exciting lecture on how thoughts and emotions can impact physiology. This connection is evident in the emergence of disease following stress or recovery in response to placebo treatment. Roll’s elaborated on the current understanding of how the brain represents and regulates the states of the immune system, examining both the therapeutic potential and the possible detrimental effects in inducing diseases and psychosomatic disorders.