Feb. 25, 2022

Event recap: 6th HBP Student Conference on Interdisciplinary Brain Research

From 22-25 February 2022, the 6th HBP Student Conference on Interdisciplinary Brain Research provided an inspiring open forum for collaboration among early-career researchers working in brain and brain-related research. 115 young scientists from 26 countries joined the second virtual edition of the HBP Student Conference and participated in a versatile scientific and social programme. With 79 % of participants coming from outside the HBP, the #HBPSC2022 proved to be a truly open and inclusive encounter and an important moment for young researchers to get together and exchange new ideas.

Insightful keynote lectures covered HBP research fields

The #HBPSC2022 Programme Committee, fully consisting of young researchers from the HBP, was able to put together yet another exciting programme schedule from students for students.

Six insightful keynote lectures spanned across the research fields of the HBP: Steven Laureys (University of Liège) opened the conference with an inspiring talk about his research on the effects of meditation on the body and shared a common meditation exercise with participants. Svenja Caspers (Forschungszentrum Jülich) provided insights into her work to understand interindividual variability in brain structure, function and connectivity and Sacha van Albada (Forschungszentrum Jülich) presented her work on supercomputational simulation studies in macaque and human cerebral cortices.

In the field of brain-inspired architectures, Silvia Tolu (Technical University Denmark) gave an insightful talk on the strategic alliance between neuroscience and robotics and Mike Davies (Intel) offered his insights on current and future work in the Neuromorphic Computing field. The conference was rounded-off by Georg Northoff’s (University of Ottawa) perspective on the brain, its mind and the need for philosophy.

Attendees discovered EBRAINS tools during interactive workshops

Besides lectures, attendees were invited to delve into different tools offered by the HBP’s EBRAINSResearch Infrastructure. Workshops gave an introduction on how to use EBRAINS for specific scientific use cases and focused on specific tools, such as the Brain Scaffold Builder, Arbor, Norse or various visualization tools. The programme was further complemented with workshops on more general themes such as the EBRAINS Community, career building and dual use & misuse issues in neuroscience.

42 students and young researchers presented their own work

The focal point of the conference were the Student Sessions, in which young researchers presented their own work during four oral presentation and two poster sessions. 42 abstracts have been accepted for presentation at the Conference and the young scientists used their presentation slots to give insightful talks on their projects and discuss them with their peers. The abstracts will be made available in post-conference proceedings published by Frontiers.

The HBPSC2022 Programme Committee awarded the best contributions with the #HBPSC2022 Best Talk & Poster Awards. Sergio Plaza Alonso (Cajal Institute, Spain) was presented with the Best Talk Award for his work on ‘Focused Ion Bean / Scanning Electron Microscopy on the study of the Human Entorhinal Cortex.’, while the Best Poster Award went to Francisco Páscoa dos Santos (Pompeu Fabra University, Spain) for his poster on ‘Role of Excitatory-Inhibitory Homeostasis in the Recovery of Functional Network Properties after Focal Lesion: A Computational Account’. 

In addition, a People’s Choice Best Abstract Award, selected by the conference participants was awarded to two young researchers with the most votes: Michiel van der Vlag (Forschungszentrum Jülich) for his contribution entitled ‘RateML: a code generation tool for BrainNetwork Models‘ and Henrik Mettler (University of Bern, Switzerland) for his contribution on ‘Evolving Neuronal Plasticity Rules using Cartesian Genetic Programming’

Networking and discussion sessions provided opportunity for extensive dialogue

Finally, the #HBPSC2022 also provided a great forum for informal exchange. An Ask Me Anything Session invited participants to ask everything they ever wanted to know about how to successfully create and implement research projects. Two networking sessions invited participants not only to exchange and find new collaborations, but also to discuss everyday life topics around research and shared useful tips and advice. Among other things, the participants came up with a ‘Neuroscience Cheatsheet’ containing useful resources on a variety of topics from successful publishing to taking care of one’s mental health.

Save the Date for #HBPSC2023

On behalf of the HBP Education Programme and the #HBPSC2022 Programme Committee we want to thank all speakers, workshop hosts and tutors, student presenters and participants – without them none of these exciting sessions would have been possible. 

Finally, we are proud to announce that the 7th HBP Student Conference on Interdisciplinary Brain Research will be back as an on-site event taking place at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid Spain in January 2023. More information will soon be announced on the following webpage: https://www.humanbrainproject.eu/en/education/HBPSC2023/