FENS Virtual Forum of Neuroscience, 11-15 July 2020

Difficult times have come for the international conferences organizers. A whole series of meetings and conferences have been canceled all over the world due to COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, one of the largest international neuroscience meeting in Europe – The FENS Forum of Neuroscience – resisted pandemic and was held online.

Organized biannually on every even year, FENS Forum is one of the largest international neuroscience meeting in Europe. Especially for young scientists, Forum is a great opportunity to exchange experience with scientists from around the world. Participants in the FENS Forum are scientists at all career levels working in all areas of neuroscience research.

This year, Marta was awarded a FENS-IBRO/PERC grant for students and young investigators to attend the FENS Virtual Forum. Thanks to this award, Marta was able to participate in the full-scale meeting, without leaving home! 56 parallel symposia, more than 3,500 abstracts and 20 plenary and special lectures were available at any time on the website. Development, cognition, diseases of the ageing brain, stem cells, genetics and much more topics were raised during this outstanding meeting. An undoubted advantage of the online meeting was the access to most of the pre-recorded materials at any time of the day or night. Especially, when several sessions took place simultaneously, virtual form gave the opportunity to watch all of them, which would be impossible on the real-life event! Sessions covered various hot-topics in talks about protein synthesis in neurons, the role of amygdala in the memory formation, sleep’s role in memory consolidation, new approaches to studying intact brain structure and functions and much more. Lots of side-off event held place during the conference, which included a series of Parallel Symposia and Mini-conferences on neuronal and glial properties, sensory systems, neurodegenerative diseases, development and stem cells, somatosensation, learning and memory. Special Interest Events were carried-out as live-sessions with the best specialist in the field and explained issues especially useful for young scientists  such as  “How society-owned journals handle your paper”, “Neuroscience career paths” or “Towards an environmentally friendly model for life sciences”.

The online meeting form does not prevent from interacting with other scientists. FENS Virtual Platform  provided easy way to contact other scientists via chat available on the website. Among nearly 3,000 e-posters in 7 sessions, Marta had two 90 minutes sessions with the opportunity to present live her research and chat with everyone interested in further details of her work. Her poster entitled “Nervous system and joint tissue changes in gene expression during progression of osteoarthritis in a rat model” was among hundreds of great works devoted to somatosensation, pain and motor system.

Organizing such a large online conference in such a short time was certainly a big challenge for the Organizing Committee. Nevertheless, the effect was excellent! Forum brought together more than 5,000 attendees from 88 countries for a new virtual community experience. Hope to see all participants in person in Paris, 2022!