Volume 20 - Issue 5

August 2016

Davide Amato, Editor-in-chief

Katherine Wright, Guest Editor

In This Issue...

  1. IBNS 2017: Welcome to Hiroshima, Japan
  2. A Conversation with the IBNS President: Looking Back and Thinking Forward
  3. A Message from IBNS President-Elect, Scott Hall
  4. Get Involved
  5. Trending Science
  6. Member News

IBNS 2017: Welcome to Hiroshima, Japan

By Yoichi Ueta, Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan

On behalf of the local organizing committee (LOC) members, I am very pleased that the 26th Annual Meeting by President Dr. Mikhail Pletnikov will be held in Grand Prince Hotel, Hiroshima, Japan on June 26-30, 2017. For the first time the meeting comes to not only Japan but also Asian countries. When I was a PhD student, I attended the first meeting 1992 in San Antonio with several Japanese distinguished researchers including Professor Yutaka Oomura (Council member in 1993-1995). The dream has come true, we are really excited to have a fantastic opportunity to welcome IBNS members to Japan. Last year Yutaka and I joined with Marianne who took a preview at the meeting place in Hiroshima. Please see photo (middle: Dr. Yutaka Oomura).

The meeting place is surrounded by calm sea with small islands called as Seto Inland Sea. We hope that participants will enjoy Japanese culture, Japanese special foods, beautiful landscapes and historic places. We look forward to seeing you in Hiroshima next year.


Honorary Advisor: Yutaka Oomura (Professor emeritus, Kyushu University)

LOC Members: Yoichi Ueta (Chair of LOC, Council member in 2004-2007 & 2012-2015, Kitakyushu), Shogo Sakata (Hiroshima), Makoto Funahashi (Sapporo), Toshihiko Katafuchi (Fukuoka), Yasushi Kiyokawa (Tokyo), Hitoshi Ozawa (Tokyo), Hiroyoshi Sei (Tokushima), Kiyofumi Yamada (Nagoya)

A Conversation with the IBNS President:
Looking Back and Thinking Forward

By Katherine Wright

Mikhail (Misha) Pletnikov has completed his first year as IBNS president. His commitment to the mission of IBNS has been --and continues to be-- evident through his leadership, thoughtful nature, and his actions. We took a minute to ask him about his accomplishments thus far as president and his vision for the future growth and success of IBNS.

In your original letter to IBNS members in the newsletter this time last year, you mentioned wanting to expand the locations of the annual meetings beyond Europe/North America, and next year’s meeting is in Hiroshima, which I’m sure many members are very excited about. What other steps have been taken to increase recruitment and inclusion of neuroscientists from African/Asian/South American countries?

We are thinking of 2 main directions. One is to rotate our meeting places between North America, Europe, and Asia/South America/Africa. The other plan is to try, as a pilot experiment, to have smaller regional meetings every other year or so. In this way, we may be able to engage more scientists from countries that have been little, if at all, represented at our meetings and in the society.  

You spoke very eloquently about the challenge of promoting a wide range of behavioral sciences within a relatively narrow field compared to all that falls under the umbrella of “science.” How has IBNS walked that tightrope of reaching out to interdisciplinary fields while maintaining the focus on behavioral sciences? How did the meeting at Budapest reflect that balance between behavioral and interdisciplinary research?

To an extent, we should consider ourselves fortunate that our society’s mandate is to promote behavioral sciences. Gordon Sheppard wrote, “Nothing in neurobiology makes sense except in the light of behavior.” Therefore, we should proudly present our society as a major convergent point for diverse disciplines that seek to understand how their specific domains of inquiry (molecular, circuitry or disease-oriented) converge on a particular set of behaviors. I think (though I am biased here) that our last meeting was a nice example of how successfully many approaches come together to ask a question about the behavior as the ultimate goal of a research program.   

There is a desire to have more opportunities to network and interact with related societies. Are there plans for more interactions between IBNS and other neuroscience meetings?

We are considering this and there is a continuing debate at each Council meeting and among members as to how to achieve this while maintaining a balance of the practical and financial issues and societal needs. So, this is still very much a work in progress. One of the roadblocks to organize joint meetings is that different societies have different schedules and hotel reservations planned 2-3 years ahead. I think in this complicated situation a small steps approach might work best. I would think that one might want to try a joint social at a next SFN meeting as a first step towards future joint meetings.

IBNS is already well-known for having a very friendly and welcoming environment. Have there been any recent changes made to enhance the social component at meetings?

I think our executive team (Marianne and Alison) has been doing wonders to provide a very enjoyable venue for the meetings. From a scientific presentation standpoint, we should try a couple of new formats to increase a presentational appeal of symposia.

Are there any other areas we haven’t covered here that you see room for growth?

One thing that we have not been successful yet is fundraising. This needs a serious improvement. I hope that the new members of the committee will be able to attract some funding to support scientists from developing countries.

Thank you, Misha, for taking the time to answer our questions. We are all very grateful for your contributions to IBNS.

A Message from IBNS President-Elect, Scott Hall
By Katherine Wright

I am pleased to introduce Scott Hall, our new IBNS president-elect. His tenure as president will be from 2017-2019. Scott has been an active IBNS member since 1998 and has served on several committees, demonstrating his long-lasting commitment to IBNS. He received his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Cambridge University in 1994, where he worked with Trevor Robbins. After a postdoc at NIAAA/NIMH, he spent 15 years in the intramural program at NIDA. He recently joined the faculty of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Toledo. He is interested in neurodevelopmental and genetic rodent models of addiction and related psychiatric disorders. When asked about his goals for IBNS, he had this to say:

“Like most of us that have been coming to IBNS meetings for a long time (and some of us that discovered the Society more recently), I was attracted to IBNS for many reasons: the strength of the science, the focus on areas of neuroscience that are often lost at larger meetings like SFN, the smaller more intimate nature of the meetings where you can see almost all of the talks and talk to most of the attendees, the strong interactions between students and established scientists, the focus on mentoring and career development, and the open and active social life of the Society that facilitates all of these goals. These goals match my own career goals very closely and are important to the future of the field, to which IBNS can contribute greatly. For these reasons this has been the Society in which I have been most active, contributing to committees, planning of meetings, working at mentoring events and workshops, chairing symposia, and all of those things that you do as a scientist, but with especial enthusiasm because I believe in these goals. However, one of the problems with small societies, in part because of the small, close-knit membership, is that they can be like private clubs, and not representative of the field at-large. IBNS has certainly struggled against this tendency. The origins of the Society were in the United States, so the majority of the membership has long been US or Canadian. This is not to say that we have not had strong contributions from behavioral neuroscientists all over the world, but all the same, since I joined the Society it has seemed to me that there is a broader behavioral (or behavioural) neuroscience community across the world which should be actively engaged by, and in, the Society. This growing engagement, actively encouraged by our immediate past-Presidents, should be one of the ongoing goals of the Society, and would be the major goal of my tenure as President. I think that this broader representation, a worthwhile goal in itself, would strengthen the, already strong, science of the meeting, and extend the reach and influence of the Society – as the international society for behavioral neuroscience should represent all areas of the field, with respect to scientific disciplines and areas of study, and professionally and geographically as well. Although we do not want to change the dynamics and size of the meeting very much, I think that we certainly want to grow the society as a part of this effort to some degree. As chair of the membership committee several years ago I suggested to the Council that our goal should be to increase the active/consistent membership to about 1000 and the meeting size to about 500. These goals would make the society more internationally representative, strengthen the science of the meetings, and secure the finances of the Society for some time to come. In addition to continuing our long tradition of strong scientific meetings, these would be my goals as President of IBNS.”

If you would like to offer any suggestions, ask questions, or to otherwise open a dialogue with Scott, he invites you to email him at [email protected].

Get Involved

Committee Opportunities

In an effort to make the search for committee members more seamless and transparent, the IBNS has created a Committee Member Opportunities form, in which members who are interested in becoming more involved can quickly and easily make their committee interests known.  Find out more on the Committees 2017 webpage.

Trending Science

In this column, we will share the latest research, interesting scientific articles and news you can use.

Female rats are not more variable than male rats: a meta-analysis of neuroscience studies.

Biology of Sex Differences, 2016 7:34 DOI 10.1186/s13293-016-0087-5.

Jill B. Becker, Brian J. Prendergast, and Jing W. Liang

 Laboratory rats are a standard model species for investigations across all domains of neuroscience. However, the exclusion of female rats in neuroscience research has been justified due to the assumption that female data are more variable due to hormonal fluctuations associated with the reproductive cycle. In this study we report that these assumptions are not valid.

Our meta-analysis of 304 empirical neuroscience research studies found that the data from female rats is no more variable than the data from male rats in the same studies. Across all types of neuroscience measure (behavior, electrophysiology, histology, neurochemistry), there were no sex differences in any of the four categories, even in instances in which mean values for males and females were significantly different. Female rats were not more variable at any stage of the estrous cycle than male rats. There were no sex differences in the effect of housing conditions.

The results of this research indicate that female rats can be included in neuroscience research without increasing variability in the data obtained. We conclude that excluding female rats from studies due to concerns about greater variability among females, compared with males, is not justified.

Member News

In this column, we share news of our members' accomplishments, career advancement, awards and honors. Submit your member news to [email protected] for our next issue.

We would like to congratulate IBNS member, Dr. Pushpanathan Muthuirulan from the NICHD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD for receiving ‘Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE)-2017’, sponsored by the NIH Fellows Committee, the Scientific Directors, and the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education. The award recognizes his distinguished contributions to scientific research on developing state of the art tools to map and visualize complex neurals ciruits that regulates visual processing in Drosophila.

“IBNS is really the crown jewel of society,” says Dr. Muthuirulan, quoting IBNS past President Dr. Mickhail Pletnikov. “IBNS has been incredibly supportive to me and helps in building very strong foundation for my line of research related to neuroscience. As an early career researcher, it’s been a great honor for me to receive this prestigious award from NIH towards recognition of my research work. In this moment, I would like to specially thank my research supervisor, Dr. Chi-Hon Lee from NICHD/NIH for his exceptional mentorship and extreme support toward my research success.” Congratulations!

Set for publication tomorrow, Sept. 1, this new book, Negative Affective States and Cognitive Impairments in Nicotine Dependence, edited by IBNS members F. Scott Hall, Jared Young and Andre Der-Avakian, is "the first resource of its kind to examine the negative reinforcement mechanisms and psychiatric comorbidities associated with nicotine use and abuse, this book addresses these negative reinforcement mechanisms and presents animal models researchers can utilize to examine these dysfunctions' biological bases." Recieve a 30% discount at the Elsevier Store by using the discount code ATR30.  Find out more about the book in this flyer.


Send your Member News to [email protected] for our next issue!

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