Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - NEUREN (NEUREN - Neuroscience Research Exchange Network (NEUREN))

Our NEUREN consortium ambition is to educate high level scientists who are able (i) to develop a Euro-Mediterranean collaborative network in higher education and research, in particular in the field of Neuroscience, (ii) to apply jointly to international calls of proposals for research and R&D projects, or (iii) to apply for jobs in Biotechnology companies.
The NEUREN project aimed at implementing a joint research programme in the field of Neuroscience organized around researcher’s mobility. It is based on an interdisciplinary consortium of 14 laboratories from 4 EU countries (France, Italy, Spain, Poland), 3 South Mediterranean countries, and 3 third-countries (USA, Australia, Canada). It covers a large scope of Neuroscience research topics from molecules to integrated physiology, associating basic, transnational and clinical research, from bench to bedside. Partners show significant complementarities to cover all aspects of Neuroscience. Every institution brings its own technical and conceptual expertise to build a consortium of excellence, taking advantage of previous collaborations (N€uromed, ISIS) to exploit existing complementarity and synergy between partners. NEUREN therefore widens our Euro-Mediterranean network, and the portfolio of collaborating projects open to Euro-Mediterranean staff and students.
The specific projects that will be developed are as follows:
• Pain sensitization in the spinal cord (Bordeaux, Alexandria, Melbourne, Laval, Turin)
• Experimental models for neurological disorders (Turin, Marrakech, Alexandria, New York)
• Systems neurobiology of neurological disorders (Valencia, Tetouan, Krakow, Melbourne)
• Cognitive impairment and neuronal dynamics (Marseille, Alexandria, Marrakech)
• Dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex and trait anxiety (Nice, Marrakech)
• Medical imaging of neurological disorders (Bordeaux, Laval, Beirut)
Such consortium will highly support the current efforts to reach outstanding international research standards and contribute to develop poles of technical and scientific excellence that will become the reference for the South Mediterranean area. Integration of various research groups across the Mediterranean area will also further diversify everyone’s technical expertise and serve to aggregate powerful teams of well-trained researchers.

While running for two years, the NEUREN project already yielded significant achievements. The collaborations between partners are very active and produced results that are now published or submitted in a total of 6 articles in international peer-reviewed journals. More publications will come in the second half of the project. The project investigates the cellular mechanisms of important neurological disorders ranging from chronic pain to epilepsy (WP 1 & 4). It also considers developmental perturbation and their consequences in terms of neuronal physiology (WP 2). At a more integrated level, cognitive processes are being explored to understand the mechanisms of social learning and the consequences of a trauma in causing post-traumatic stress disorders. Finally, the consortium contributes to refine medical imaging in order to improve diagnosis of neuronal pathologies.

The different research projects led to unforeseen collaborations between teams of different workpackages. For instance, Valencia and Bordeaux are now developing a project in collaboration with Melbourne. Bordeaux and Marrakech have also set an original project that combines studies if cognitive disorders and chronic pain.

Beyond the current project, the NEUREN consortium largely contributed to the creation and the development of the Mediterranean Neuroscience Society. The 3 first Presidents (D Boussaoud, M Moftah, and M Landry) are all members of the NEUREN consortium. The competence and collaboration skills gained through the present project proved to be extremely useful in organizing the Society and defining its scientific objectives. Finally, the NEUREN consortium successfully applied for a new grant from the ERASMUS+, Strategic Partnership programme aiming to implement an e-learning Master of Neuroscience thus. The present consortium is therefore unique in combining research and education and proposing a comprehensive programme, relying on young researchers, to develop Neuroscience in European countries and in their South Mediterranean neighbours.

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