SPN2019 countdown:

Dear colleagues,

The organizing committee announces the XVI Meeting of the Portuguese Society for Neuroscience which will be held in Lisboa from May 30 to June 1, 2019. Save the date!

SPN2019 aims at bringing together the vibrant Portuguese Neuroscience community that has been contributing to significantly advance this defying area. An exciting meeting is being prepared to create a unique opportunity to meet and discuss the most recent advances in neuroscience.

We look forward to meeting you in Lisboa!

The conference chairs,
Sara Xapelli
Maria José Diógenes
Cláudia Almeida


May 30 to June 1, 2019

Click to learn more


Click for bio


Barde studied Medicine and Physiology in Geneva (Switzerland), as well as Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. In 1991, he became a Member of the Max-Planck Society and in 1999 Director of the Max-Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried near Munich, Germany. In 2001 he was appointed Director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel and external member of the Max Planck Society. In 2003 he became Professor of Neurobiology at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and in 2013 Sêr Cymru Research Chair in Neurobiology at Cardiff University.
Barde’s best known contribution relates to the discovery and characterization of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The cloning of its cDNA revealed a structural relatedness to nerve growth factor (NGF), the then only characterized growth factor preventing the death of neurons in the developing peripheral nervous system. This finding facilitated the discovery of additional members of what turned out to be a small gene family designated the “neurotrophins”. Amongst the members of this family, BDNF now receives most attention as it is widely expressed in the adult brain of vertebrates. It plays multiple roles in synaptic plasticity and memory as well as in dysfunction of the nervous system. In particular, BDNF levels are decreased in a wide range of conditions. The recent discovery that in humans, megakaryocytes transcribe the BDNF gene like neurons may help to understand why BDNF levels in blood may reflect brain levels. Unlike all primates tested including humans, laboratory mice do not contain detectable levels of BDNF in the blood circulation or in platelets, in line with the finding that BDNF is undetectable in mouse megakaryocytes. These findings inspired the generation of a mouse model mimicking the situation in humans. As these mice are viable and fertile with high levels of BDNF in their platelets they can now be bred with some of the mutants that have been crucial in characterising the multiple functions of BDNF in vivo and in modelling diseases of the nervous system.


Carlos Dotti obtained the Medical Doctor degree from the National University of Córdoba in 1980 and the PhD degree in Neuroendocrinology from the same university, under the sponsorship of the Argentine National Research Council (CONICET). Next he pursued two postdoctoral specializations, first (1985-1988) in the USA with a NIH Fogarty International Fellowship and second in Germany (1988-1991), with an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Between 1991 and 2000 he was an independent researcher in the Department of Cell Biology at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg (Germany). Between 2000 and 2005 he acted as Scientific Director of the Cavalieri Ottolenghi Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Turin (Italy).
In 2005, he took on a Full Professor position at the Department of Human Genetics of the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL). In 2009, he took a Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) Full Professor Position at the Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa in Madrid (Spain). Since then, he built a laboratory and obtained consecutive funds from the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness in 2010, 2013 and 2016, coordinated a Consolider network on the effect of age on normal and pathological cognitive deficits, and currently coordinates a BBVA grant.
In terms of scientific contributions, he helped to define some of the pathways and mechanisms participating in the establishment of neuronal polarity.


Sebastian Jessberger is Director of the Brain Research Institute and Professor for Neurosciences at the University of Zurich. He studied Medicine and carried out his medical thesis at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology (ZMNH) in Hamburg. In 2002 he started a joint residency at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and the Dept. of Neurology of the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany. As a postdoctoral fellow (2004-2007) in the laboratory of Fred H. Gage at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, USA he continued to work on neural stem cell biology and neurogenesis in the adult brain. From 2007 to 2012 he was Assistant Professor at the ETH Zurich before joining the Brain Research Institute. He is a fellow of the MaxnetAging network of the Max Planck Society, received several prizes and was awarded to join the EMBO Young Investigator program in 2012.


Click for bio


Inês Araújo is a biologist with a PhD in Cell Biology (University of Coimbra, 2005). During her PhD, IA was interested in mechanisms of neurodegeneration in the hippocampus triggered by excitotoxicity, particularly in epilepsy contexts, working under the supervision of Prof. Caetana Carvalho at the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (Coimbra). At the postdoctoral level, IA expanded her interests to injury-induced neurogenesis following epileptic lesions, and has since explored the role of the gasotransmitter nitric oxide in the biology of neural stem cells in pathophysiological settings, under the supervision of Prof. Patrik Brundin at the Wallenberg Neuroscience Center (Lund, Sweden) and Prof. Caetana Carvalho in Coimbra. IA is currently interested in understanding how the post-translational protein modifications that nitric oxide promotes can affect the function of several proteins involved in neurogenic signaling. Since 2011, IA is an assistant professor at the University of Algarve, in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine, and a group leader of the Neurogenesis Lab at the Center for Biomedical Research (CBMR). IA has published extensively in the field of nitric oxide neurobiology and reviews manuscripts for several journals on this topic. IA has been a member of the Portuguese Society for Neuroscience since 2001, and an active participant in SPN activities, including actively promoting the Brain Awareness Week in the Algarve region.


Dora Brites was graduated in Pharmacy in 1976, received her PhD degree in Biochemistry in 1988 and habilitation in Biological Sciences in in 2004 from the Universidade de Lisboa. She is presently Research Coordinator and Invited Full Professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Human Biology at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Universidade de Lisboa (FFULisboa), Portugal, and Group Leader of Neuron Glia Biology in Health and Disease at the Research Institute for Medicines of FFULisboa. Her current research interests reside on neurodevelopmental alterations and age-related neurodegenerative disorders, namely Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), with a main focus on neuroinflammatory signaling pathways and dysregulated neuronal-glia cross-talk, including the shedding, microRNA content and distribution of extracellular vesicles. Final goal is to identify targets, early disease biomarkers and develop driven medicines. Dora Brites has authored more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, was recently awarded with the Santa Casa prize for developing an autologous exosome-based therapy to delivery neuroprotective cargoes in ALS, and is part of the European JPND Consortium for developing improved models for studying AD. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3024-9777.


Miguel Castelo-Branco obtained his PhD at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain research, Frankfurt, Germany and is now Full Professor at the University of Coimbra. He has held a Professorship in Psychology in 2000 at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands. Before, he was also a Postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research.
MCB has made interdisciplinary contributions in the fields of Cognitive Neuroscience, Human and Animal Neurophysiology, Visual Neuroscience, Human Psychophysics, Functional Brain Imaging and Translational research in Neurology. His work in fundamental neuroscience ranges from sensory biophysics to visual attention and high level processes in human neurophysiology. He has also addressed the temporal dynamics of decision making. In his translational research he could separate low vs. high level cognitive impairment iin neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism. He has further studied parallel pathways to quantitatively analyze visual and motor aging in neurodegenerative disorders (in particular Parkinson Disease). His laboratory is experienced in Visual and Cognitive Impairment questions, and the role of innate factors and learning in shaping cognitive performance. In recent work, the lab has characterized several disease models of genetic vs. acquired visual impairments. One major goal is to provide models of neural impairment based on structure-function and genotype-phenotype correlations that may help understand neural plasticity and define novel rehabilitation strategies.


Luís Pereira de Almeida, PhD is a tenured professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, where he coordinates the Masters in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. His research activity is developed at CNC - Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (which integrates the CIBB – Center for Innovative Biomedicine and Biotechnology consortium), University of Coimbra Portugal where he is Principal Investigator and Vice-President. Luis did his PhD in the Gene Therapy Center of Lausanne, CHUV, Switzerland and spent short sabbatical leaves at CEA, Saclay, France (2005), at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT - 2010) and has been vice-president of the Portuguese Society for Stem Cells and Cell Therapy (2013-2015). Luis leads a talented research group focused on gene and stem cell therapy approaches for brain disorders, particularly Machado-Joseph disease/spinocerebellar ataxia type 3. In 2017 one of the therapeutic strategies developed by his group was given the Orphan Drug designation by the European Medicines Agency. Luis has been responsible for over 20 research projects and presently coordinates ViraVector - a Research Infrastructure for production and experimentation with viral vectors, and the transnational projects SynSpread and ModelPolyQ within the European Joint Programme for Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND).


After graduating Physics (University of La Habana, Cuba) Dr. Menendez de La Prida received a PhD from the Institute of Neuroscience (Alicante, Spain) in 1998. She has held visiting positions in the laboratories of David Brown (UCL, London), Leon Lagnado (MRC LBM, Cambridge) and Steven J. Schiff (George Mason University, Virginia) that allowed her to acquire a broad background and expertise to study brain function. After intermittent postdoctoral training with Richard Miles (Hopital Pitie-Salpetriere, Paris) she got her permanent position at the Instituto Cajal in 2007. Liset has received prestigious funding from EMBO and HFSP all over her career. She has published multiple articles in top journals, including Neuron and Nature Neuroscience, and hold the patent of integrated probes for simultaneous drug delivery and brain recordings, now in preliminary tests for translational applications in epilepsy research. Dr. de la Prida serves as an Editor for prestigious journals including Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neuroscience Methods and eNeuro, and has commissioning duties in the American Epilepsy Society and the Spanish Society for Neurosciences.
Liset is a leading international expert in the study of the basic mechanisms of physiological ripples and epileptic fast ripples, with strong visibility as developer of novel groundbreaking electrophysiological tools.


Dr. Giovanni Marsicano is a tenured researcher at Inserm. He leads the group “Endocannabinoids and Neuroadaptation” at the NeuroCentre Magendie, an INSERM and University of Bordeaux Research Center devoted to neuroscience. Dr. Marsicano is a Veterinary Medicine Doctor as formation. After the Veterinary diploma, he worked on research related to Embryonic Stem Cells from farm animals and to xenotransplantation models in Italy for 4 years. He then moved to the Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich for a PhD student position, where he initiated the work on the role of type-1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1) and of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in brain physiology, which since has been his main research interest. The subject of his PhD thesis was the generation of conditional mutants for CB1 and anatomical and functional studies on the mechanisms of action of the ECS. After PhD graduation in 2001, he made two post-doc periods in Germany and moved to Bordeaux in 2006 (recruited as senior scientist in 2007) to lead his independent research group. He is member of the SfN, the French Society of Neuroscience, the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) and of the International Society of Neurochemistry (ISN). By using conditional mutagenesis in mice and behavioral, biochemical and electrophysiological tools, his work contributed defining the role of CB1 in specific cell populations in learning and memory, food intake and energy balance, anxiety, stress-coping and others. Through a clear bottom-up scientific approach, these studies allowed exploring some general principles of brain functioning, such as the balance between excitation and inhibition, the interactions between the brain and the periphery, the functions of glial-neuron crosstalks and the importance of mitochondrial energy metabolism in brain functions.


Arlindo Oliveira was born in Angola and has lived in Mozambique, Portugal, Switzerland and California. He obtained his BSc and MSc degrees from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) and his PhD degree from the University of California at Berkeley, all in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He was a researcher at CERN and at the Berkeley Cadence Laboratories. He is a professor at the computer science and engineering department of IST and a researcher at INESC-ID. He authored three books, translated in different languages, and more than 150 articles in international conferences and journals. He has been on the boards of a number of companies and institutions and is a past president of INESC-ID and of the Portuguese Association for Artificial Intelligence. He is a member of the IEEE and of the Portuguese Academy of Engineering. He became president of Instituto Superior Técnico em 2012.


Ana João Rodrigues (AJR) is currently a Researcher at ICVS (FCT Investigator), and is an Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Minho, Portugal. AJR graduated in Applied Biology by University of Minho in 2003, with the research trainee in Leiden University Medical Center, Holland. In 2008, AJR obtained her PhD in Health Sciences, with the work developed at ICVS, University of Minho, Portugal (Patricia Maciel’s Lab), at the Neurogenetics Department in UCLA, USA (Daniel Geschwind’s Lab), and at Turku Biocenter for Technology, Finland (Garry Corthals’ lab). From 2009-2013, AJR performed her post-doctoral fellowship at ICVS (Nuno Sousa’s Lab), in the topic “Programming genes, brain and behavior through stress”.
Since 2013, AJR is a junior PI at ICVS, and her research is focused in understanding what drives motivated behaviors and how stress in specific developmental windows can imprint long-lasting marks in the brain, leading to maladaptive behavior.
AJR has published more than 40 papers in peer reviewed journals, including in top journals such as Nature Commmunications, Molecular Psychiatry and Neuropsycopharmacology. She is part of the editorial board at Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience and Brain Research.


Tiago Gil Oliveira was a student in the joint MD/PhD program of the University of Minho, Portugal and Columbia University, NYC, USA. He performed his PhD studies at Columbia University, between 2007 and 2010, under the supervision of Prof. Gilbert Di Paolo and Prof. Nuno Sousa and his MD studies at University of Minho. While studying the role of lipid signaling in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis, he showed that the ablation of the lipid modulating enzyme, phospholipase D2, was protective in different Alzheimer’s disease models. Since 2011 he has been an Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Minho, where he teaches Anatomy to medical students. While in Minho he expanded his research interests to the study of mood disorders. Using an unbiased lipidomic approach, he showed that specific lipid signaling pathways were altered in a chronic stress model, unraveling new potential therapeutic targets. He is now using lipidomic approaches to study neurodegenerative diseases. In parallel with his academic work he continued his medical career and is currently a Neuroradiologist at Hospital de Braga.


Deadline for Abstract Submission: 22/02/2019

Early bird
(Feb 1 - Feb 22)

(Feb 23 - Apr 30)

(May 1 - June 1)


Non Member


Non Member


Non Member















Registration fee includes: Abstract submission (Early bird) + Supporting material + coffee-breaks + 2 lunches + 1 social dinner.

SPN Members:
SPN members must be in good standing at the time of the registration for the meeting in order to benefit from member rates. Membership status will be verified.

Check your membership status and proceed to fee payment here.

Registration HERE.

Abstract Submission HERE.
Abstract submission requires previous registration.

You have the opportunity to publish your SPN2019 abstract in Frontiers!

To submit your abstract for publication as Conference Proceedings in Frontiers please proceed HERE, and click in the blue button Submit Abstract. Then select Article type: Event abstract; Event: XVI Meeting of the Portuguese Society for Neuroscience (SPN2019)

● All abstracts are accessible for free to any reader online, like all publications at Frontiers;
● Each abstract receives a DOI number, is registered with CrossRef and becomes an official publication that can be cited;
● Abstracts are securely and permanently archived on Frontiers' servers;

Attention: The submission of an Abstract in Frontiers is independent of the submission of an Abstract in SPN2019.

If you choose to submit an Abstract in Frontiers you still have to submit your abstract in SPN2019 website.
Please use the same abstract for both submissions. Deadline Frontiers: 22/02/2019.

Important information:
● Abstracts can be proposed for Oral presentation and a restricted number will be selected by the scientific committee for selected oral presentation. Communications that are not selected for Oral presentation will be assigned for "Pitch + Poster" or "Poster", and the ones that are not selected for "Pitch + Poster" will be assigned for "Poster".
Poster presentations:
 Poster presentations will be presented in the room Chiado (2nd floor).
 Dimensions for posters: 120 cm x 80 cm (portrait)
Selected pitch communications:
 3 min pitch presentations will be presented in the room Alfama (1st floor).
 Selected authors will be notified in due time.
Selected oral communications:
 15 (10+5) min oral presentations will be presented in the room Alfama (1st floor).
 Selected authors will be notified in due time.
● You must pick up your badge at the Registration Desk on the day of the meeting.
● Certificates of Attendance will be sent by e-mail after the end of the meeting.


MB payment
Preferred method of payment: MB payment. Proceed with the payment HERE.
At the time of registration, a MB reference will be created.

Bank transfer payment
Alternative method of payment only for institutional payments and/or researchers that do not hold a Portuguese bank account
To request a pro-form invoice please contact SPN treasurer Maria José Diógenes (diogenes@medicina.ulisboa.pt).

Bank details:
Novo Banco Swift: BESCPTPL
IBAN: PT 50 0007 00200027972000306

The proof of bank payment must be sent to spn2019.geral@gmail.com.

Important information:
● Your registration will only be completed after payment and you will receive an e-mail confirming your registration. If you do not receive the confirmation email please contact us (spn2019.geral@gmail.com).
● Registration is on hold until successful payment. In case of cancellation, the registration fee will not be refunded.

10 international scholarships
(for portuguese researchers working abroad) – 500€.
 5 PhD students
 5 post-doctoral fellows

21 national scholarships
(for researchers of any nationality working in Portugal) – value of registration fee.
 7 MSc or MSc students
 7 PhD students
 7 Post-doctoral fellows

- Candidate must submit an abstract;
- Be a SPN member with membership fees paid.

Application for SPN scholarships:
- Abstract;
- Motivation Letter;
- CV.

Applications should be sent to the SPN secreteriat: Tiago Gil Oliveira (tiago@med.uminho.pt)
Deadline: 1st March 2019

Click here to apply for SPN membership.

Adherent members (young investigators with less than 2 published manuscripts): can apply for SPN membership at any time and registration can be accepted as SPN members after the payment of the SPN membership fee.

Effective members (investigators with at least 2 published manuscripts): have to be approved by the General Assembly at the SPN meeting 2019. Registration must be performed as “non-member” for this meeting. Upon application approval the annual SPN membership fee will be waived. Fee waiver will only be considered if you apply for SPN membership until April 30, 2019.

For more information please contact the SPN treasurer: M. José Diógenes (diogenes@medicina.ulisboa.pt).


Session I
Neurodevelopment / Regeneration
Invited speaker: Inês Araújo University of Algarve, Portugal

Session V
Spanish Society of Neuroscience Symposium: Neural Circuits
Invited speaker: Liset Menendez de la Prida Instituto Cajal, CSIC, Spain

Session II
Sociedade Portuguesa de Bioquímica (SPB) Symposium: Cellular and Molecular Neurosciences
Invited speaker: Dora Brites iMed.ULisboa, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Session VI
European Society for Neurochemistry Symposium: Glia/Neuroinflammation
Invited speaker: Giovanni Marsicano Université Bordeaux, France

Session III
Fundação Grunenthal Symposium: Sensory Processing
Invited speaker: Miguel Castelo-Branco ICNAS, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Session VII
Psychiatric Disorders / Addiction
Invited speaker: Ana João Rodrigues ICVS, University of Minho, Portugal

Session IV
Rare Disorders
Invited speaker: Luís Almeida CNC, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Session VIII
Neurodegeneration / Physiological Aging Brain
Invited speaker: Tiago Gil Oliveira ICVS, University of Minho, Portugal


SPN 2019 will take place at the Tryp Hotel Lisboa Aeroporto, located near Lisbon's airport.

Other suggested accomodations near the venue:

Star Inn Lisbon Airport
Holiday Inn Express Lisbon Airport


The social dinner (May 31st) will be at Espaço Tejo Restaurant, located at Centro de Congressos de Lisboa.


Adelaide Fernandes Universidade de Lisboa
Ana Sebastião Universidade de Lisboa
César Mendes Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
Clévio Nóbrega Universidade do Algarve
Francisco Ambrósio Universidade de Coimbra
Joana Palha Universidade do Minho
João Malva Universidade de Coimbra
João Peça Silvestre Universidade de Coimbra
Liliana Bernardino Universidade da Beira Interior
Luís P. Almeida Universidade de Coimbra
Luísa Pinto Universidade do Minho
Mónica Sousa Universidade do Porto
Ramiro Almeida Universidade de Aveiro
Rosalina Fonseca Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
Susana Solá Universidade de Lisboa
Teresa Summavielle Universidade do Porto


Alexandre de Mendonça Universidade de Lisboa
Carlos B. Duarte Universidade de Coimbra
Catarina Resende de Oliveira Universidade de Coimbra
Deolinda Lima Universidade do Porto
Dora Brites Universidade de Lisboa
Isaura Tavares Universidade do Porto
João F. Oliveira Universidade do Minho
Joaquim Alexandre Ribeiro Universidade de Lisboa
Joaquim Ferreira Universidade de Lisboa
José Castro Lopes Universidade do Porto
Maria João Saraiva Universidade do Porto
Miguel Castelo-Branco Universidade de Coimbra
Nuno Sousa Universidade do Minho
Paulo Correia de Sá Universidade do Porto
Rodrigo Cunha Universidade de Coimbra
Teresa Coelho Centro Hospitalar do Porto


Ana Sebastião Universidade de Lisboa
Cláudia Almeida Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
Cláudia Valente Universidade de Lisboa
Inês Figueira Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
Maria José Diógenes Universidade de Lisboa
Rita Aroeira Universidade de Lisboa
Sandra Tenreiro Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
Sandra H. Vaz Universidade de Lisboa
Sara Xapelli Universidade de Lisboa


Antónia Ribeiro ● Catarina Ferreira ● Catarina Lourenço ● Carolina Pina ● d'Armada Moreira ● Daniela Magalhães ● Diogo Lourenço ● Diogo Rombo ● Filipa Ribeiro ● Francisco Mouro ● Jéssica Rosa ● Joana Gomes ● Joana Mateus ● Joana Ribeiro ● João Gomes ● João Moreira ● Leonor Rodrigues ● Margarida Godinho ● Marta Gomes ● Miguel Ferreira ● Nádia Rei ● Rita Belo ● Rita Soares ● Robertta Martins ● Rui Rodrigues ● Sara Paulo ● Sara Tanqueiro ● Vanda Nogueira






Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes
Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa
Av. Professor Egas Moniz, Edifício Egas Moniz
1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal

CEDOC - Chronic Diseases Research Center
NOVA Medical School | Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Rua Câmara Pestana 6
1150-082 Lisboa, Portugal