Dr Áine Kelly’s review on the highly successful BNA2019 Public Programme

Dr Áine Kelly’s review on the highly successful BNA2019 Public Programme

The public programme of the BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience comprised 16 events held in 9 venues around Dublin city centre, with a satellite ‘Brain Movie Night’ event in Galway. The programme had events to suit all tastes, from rap to classical music, from art to contemporary dance and drama, along with well-attended educational events focused on brain research and patient experience.


Numerous conference delegates mentioned the public programme as a particular highlight of the meeting, with many both attending and participating in events. While BNA organised 2 events at the main conference venue– Baba Brinkman’s high energy, entertaining and educational ‘Rap Guide to Consciousness’ and Prof. Ed Bullmore’s public lecture on ‘Inflamed Depression’, Neuroscience Ireland were the driving force behind the majority of the public programme.


The arts strand was a key feature, and award-winning creative artists generously shared their work with us. Fishamble Theatre Company helped us to stage Olivier-award winning actor and playwright Pat Kinevane’s stunning, hilarious and emotional one-man show ‘Forgotten’ at Trinity College’s Samuel Beckett Theatre. Writer-director Oonagh Kearney allowed us to show her Cork Film Festival and Dublin Film Festival award-winning short film “Five Letters to the Stranger who will Dissect my Brain” in the atmospheric Old Anatomy Theatre in Trinity College – all who attended will agree that it was a unique and special experience to view the film in one of the historic locations in which it was shot and to hear about Oonagh’s experience of making the film.  Joanna Hopkins developed a beautiful site-specific art installation on the theme of memory at the Accenture Gallery in the Science Gallery, while Jessie Keenan staged her exquisite contemporary dance piece ‘Fragments’ in the Samuel Beckett Theatre.


Perhaps nowhere was the crossover of the arts and sciences more evident than at “Cognitive Musicology Via Synaesthesia” at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Svetlana Rudenko arranged a beautiful event comprising classical performance of a piano, string  and flute ensemble accompanied by choreography and projected visuals, all preceded by a wonderful talk from Prof Anil Seth. Meanwhile, the importance of creativity and artistic expression to older people was evident  at the joyful and uplifting ‘Age of Arts’ event at the Science Gallery, featuring a very special performance by the choir of the Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing.


Patient outreach and education was another key theme of the programme – the public appetite for information on research into brain health and disease was such that the events on delirium, depression, Huntington’s disease, epilepsy, teenage mental health and patient advocacy all sold out. More public discussion of science happened over coffee and buns during the ”Ask the Scientist’ event at the Science Gallery, and over refreshments of another kind at ‘Neuroscience on Tap’ at the Ferryman pub – the presenters at  both events had to be on their toes to cope with the insightful and challenging questions from the public audience.


We would not have been able to stage such a diverse, creative and innovative programme without the hard work and inspiration of individual event organisers, and the heroic efforts of our student volunteers. Special thanks of course go to  our funders – BNA, Neuroscience Ireland, the Physoc, Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council – whose generous support meant that all events were free of charge.  It was an exhausting but unforgettable week of public engagement and outreach, but the enthusiasm and support of the general public made it all worthwhile.



NSI Scientific Stream at BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience

NSI Scientific Stream at BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience


As Festival Partners for BNA2019, NSI are delighted to have been involved in developing an exciting scientific stream within the BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience. This stream is composed of an excellent line up of symposium, workshops and plenary lectures chaired and delivered by Irish Neuroscience researchers.  Come see the latest research from early career through to veteran neuroscientists on a wide array of exciting topics.

For a full list of symposium and plenary lectures see below and click here

NSI Opening Plenary and The Brain Prize Plenary Lecture

Sunday 14th April: 18:00 – 19:00, the Auditorium, CCD

Decisions, uncertainty and rewards

Professor Ray Dolan,
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UK

Symposium Sessions

Sunday 14th April: 13.00 – 14.40

S3: Precision therapy: Antisense oligonucleotides targeting coding and noncoding RNAs for neurological disorders​
Cristina Reschke, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Ireland (co-chair)
Gerhard Schratt, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Sarah Tabrizi, University College London, UK.

​Monday 15th April: 9.30 – 11.10

​S12: Cognitive ageing: Inflammatory mechanisms driving changes in brain plasticity
The ‘Neuronal Signaling’ symposium, supported by Portland Press

Yvonne Nolan, University College Cork, Ireland (co-chair)
Annamaria Cattaneo, IRCCS Fatebenefratelli Brescia, Italy.
Sandrine Thuret, King’s College London, UK.
Aine Kelly, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)

Monday 15th April: 15.30 – 17.10

S17: Cannabinoids: therapeutic potential in CNS disorders
Roger Pertwee, University of Aberdeen, UK.
Eva Marco, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.
Eric Downer, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)
Michelle Roche, NUI Galway, Ireland (co-chair)

Tuesday 16th April: 15.30 – 17.10

S26: The Microbiome: A Key Regulator of the Impact of Diet on Brain Function
John Cryan, University College Cork, Ireland (co-chair)
Carlos Ribiero, Fundação Champalimaud, Portugal.
Marion Rincel, University Bordeaux, France (co-chair)
Philip Burnet, University of Oxford, UK.

Affiliated symposium

Sunday 14th April: 16.20 – 18.00

S7: The link between neuroinflammation and dysregulated metabolism in the context of age and Alzheimer’s disease
Convened by Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network Ireland

Marina Lynch, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)
Catherine B. Lawrence, University of Manchester, UK (co-chair)
Robert Cumming, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
Michael Heneka, University of Bonn Medical Center, Germany.

Tuesday 16th April: 09.30 – 11.10

S24: Impact Factor: Concussion and Brain Health
John Kealy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)
Niamh Lynch, Bon Secours Hospital, Cork, Ireland (co-chair)
Ann McKee, Boston University, US
Nicola Marchi, Institut de Génomique Fonctionelle, France

Tuesday 16th April: 15.30 – 17.10

S28: Let’s stick together – neurodegeneration an expanding disease spectrum
Convened by the Association of British Neurologists

Timothy Lynch, University College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)
Jonathan Schott, University College London, UK (co-chair)
Matthew Jones, University of Manchester, UK.
Paola Piccini, Imperial College London, UK.

Wednesday 17th April: 09.30 – 11.10

S34: Vascular Neurology 
Convened by the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience
Keith Muir, University of Glasgow, UK
Dominick McCabe, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)
Aine Merwick, Beaumont Hospital, Ireland
Alex Leff, UCL, UK (co-chair)

SsC: Early Career Researcher Prizewinners’ session

Kathy Ruddy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland – NSI Early Career Investigator award winner


SUNDAY 14TH APRIL: 16.20 – 18.00
W1: Big Data: Management, modelling & collaboration 
Madeleine Lowery, University College Dublin, Ireland (chair) – Modelling big data, an inter-disciplinary approach 
Claire Gillan, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland – Big Data: techniques and collaboration for psychiatric health 
John Terry, University of Exeter, UK – Computational Biology
Damien Coyle, Ulster University, UK – Neurotechnology and Brain-Computer Interfaces
Sara Pulit, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands – Computational biology applications in large-scale omics data: examples from obesity genetics

NSI Distinguished Investigator and Early Career Investigator Awardees

NSI Distinguished Investigator and Early Career Investigator Awardees



The recipient of this years NSI Tom Connor Distinguished Investigator Award is Prof Ray Dolan. Ray is Mary Kinross Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, at UCL. His research addresses the neurobiology of emotion and decision making, how emotion impacts on cognition and its aberrant expression in disease.  He will deliver a plenary lecture entitled “Decisions, uncertaininty and rewards” at the BNA2019 Fesitival of Neuroscience on Sunday 14th April 18.20-19.20. Read more information about Ray Dolan’s lecture here

The NSI Early Career Investigator Award will be awarded to Dr Kathy Ruddy. Kathy is a post-doctoral researcher at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience in Dublin, and the Neural Control of Movement Lab at ETH in Zürich. Her research interests include how brain rhythms are a key factor underpinning higher level human functioning, such as cognition. She will deliver a lecture on her work at the BNA2019 Fesitival of Neuroscience at the Early Career Researcher Prizewinners’ session on Tuesday 16th April from 15.30-17.30