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New connections in the neuroscience sector

Brain synapses lie at the heart of psychiatric disease. Recent research has highlighted these nerve cell communication structures as the basis of depression, addiction, dementia and anxiety disorders.
New connections in the neuroscience sector
The EU-funded SYMBAD (Synapses: from molecules to higher brain function and diseases) initiative has created a framework to advance the study of synapses, their molecules, and relate this to higher brain function and disease. High on the agenda was high-level training, interweaving of multilevel approaches and collaboration. Altogether, eight steering committees and four supervisory boards were appointed to discuss all aspects of the project's progress and direction.

Six academic institutions and nine private companies, all internationally recognised in the field of neuroscience, came together to support the training of early-stage researchers. Altogether, 31 PhD students from 13 countries participated in the programme. The focus was on teaching the latest and emerging sophisticated techniques now available in the neurosciences arena.

SYMBAD held seven workshops that were attended by 63 students in all, where 89 external scientists gave lectures and taught innovative techniques. International annual meetings covered recruitment status, training activities and progress reports. Two summer schools offered lectures from expert neuroscientists, and hands-on experiments for methodological training.

A website maintained during the project term provided a resource for details of training activities along with information on annual meetings, research projects and training activities. A large number of the ESRs have published or submitted papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Neurological diseases pose a significant social and economic burden in Europe. Increased knowledge as to how synapses transmit nerve signals on a molecular level promise to provide new leads for novel therapies. SYMBAD has increased the attractiveness of neuroscience and provided highly trained academics eager for collaborative work in the neuroscience arena.

Related information

Keywords

Neuroscience, synapses, disease, training, novel therapies
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