Meet the speakers Meet the speakers

Prof. Uri Ashery is a prominent neuroscientist who leads an excellent interdisciplinary research team and heads the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University. His current research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release under normal conditions and in the case of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. His lab combines multidisciplinary approaches such as electrophysiology, super resolution and TIRF microscopy, Molecular and cellular neurobiology and computer modeling to study synaptic plasticity and correlate between molecular changes and synaptic function and dysfunction. Prof. Ashery pioneered and led the establishment, in 2011, of a unique multidisciplinary "ecosystem" at Tel Aviv University, the Sagol School of Neuroscience. The Sagol School has made Tel Aviv University a magnet for excellent researchers and students. It has become the leading neuroscience institute in Israel, with over 130 research groups led by internationally renowned scientists and clinicians.




Name: Marta Suárez Cubero, MSc.
Nationality: Spanish
Institute: Institute of Molecular Biology; Genomics, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (LFU)
Current Position/function: Lab technician

2013: BSc., Biotechnology, Univesity of Barcelona
2015: MSc., Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, FH Technikum Wien






Dr Javier DeFelipe began his research career in 1976 at the Cajal Institute, under the supervision of Dr Rodrigo, studying the autonomic innervation of the oesophagus. Having presented his doctoral thesis in 1980, he joined the laboratory of  Drs Valverde and Fairén. It was in this period that he began to study the microorganization of the cerebral cortex, a subject that has remained the focal point of his research since then. He developed a simple and effective method for correlative light and electron microscopic studies to analyze the connections between identified neurons at the electron microscopy level. In 1983, he obtained a Fogarty Fellowship (NIH) to work with Dr Jones at the Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis. One of his most important scientific achievements was the demonstration of the coexistence of neuropeptides with a classical neurotransmitter. From 1984 to 1985 he was appointed as a Visiting Scientist in the laboratory of Dr Jones at the University of California (Irvine). After this period in the laboratory of Dr Jones, he obtained a Tenure in Neuroscience at the Cajal Institute to continue his research on the cerebral cortex. Between 1989 and 1991, he returned to Dr Jones' laboratory to study the microorganization of the monkey cerebral cortex. In 1991 he returned to the Cajal Institute to establish a research group that focuses on the microorganization of the cerebral cortex in various species (particularly humans) and on the alterations of cortical circuits in epilepsy and Alzheimer disease. In 2000, he was appointed as Research Scientist, and in 2004 as Full Professor. He was the Spanish Project leader for the NASA Neurolab project and has been the Director of the Cajal Blue Brain Project since 2009. In addition, he is the co-leader of Subproject 1-Strategic Mouse Brain Data of the Human Brain Project. A former associate editor of Brain Research and the chief editor of Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, he serves on the editorial boards of several other journals. A highly cited author (h-46), he has given more than 270 lectures and 40 plenary and keynote lectures. He is the recipient of several awards including the Cortical Discoverer Award from the Cajal Club and Honorary Member of the American Association of Anatomists. Another of his principal interests is the study of the history of our current understanding of cortical organization, and finally he also strives to make neuroscience accessible to as wide an audience as possible.



Timo Dickscheid is heading the "Big Data Analytics" group at the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany. He graduated in Computer Science at the University of Koblenz and Landau in 2006, and earned his PhD at the University of Bonn in 2011 under the supervision of Prof. Wolfgang Förstner. In his thesis project, Dickscheid worked on methods for 3D reconstruction of building interiors from cameras, and developed a statistical framework for image feature matching with spatial constraints. In 2010, he joined Forschungszentrum Jülich as a post-doc in the lab of Katrin Amunts, where he worked on medical image registration and segmentation methods for building 3D human brain models. After accepting a position as the head of Information Technology at the German Federal Institute of Hydrology in Koblenz in 2012, Dickscheid returned to Jülich again in 2014. His research group focuses on high-resolution biomedical image analysis for building multilevel atlases of the human brain, and implements modern image processing and machine learning methods on high performance computing platforms for processing large datasets. In the Human Brain Project (HBP), Dickscheid adresses cross-cutting aspects between Neuroinformatics and High Performance Computing for human brain atlasing. Since 2016, Dickscheid is leading the work package 5.3 "Multi-level Atlas of the Human Brain" within HBP's Neuroinformatics Platform, as well as tasks in Subprojects 2 ("Human Brain Organization") and 7 ("High Performance Analytic and Computing Platform").



Terri Gilbert joined the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2010 and currently spearheads the user support program for the Allen Brain Atlas resources, designing and delivering live trainings and webinars to global audiences. Terri is a high-level science communicator with over 15 years of experience delivering technical presentations and training sessions to a variety of audiences, and has held positions in both academia and industry.
Terri has a Bachelor's degree in physics from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. She received her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of New Mexico, School of Medicine and has held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of New Mexico and the University of Washington.









PD Barbara Hausott graduated as PhD from University of Vienna, Austria, in 2003. She started as a postdoc at the Division of Neuroanatomy, Medical University Innsbruck, Austria, in 2004. In 2012, she obtained the "Habilitation" in Neuroscience at Medical University Innsbruck.






Prof. Lars Klimaschewski graduated as MD from the University of Hamburg, Germany, in 1991. He received the PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 1997. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Pathology, Center for Neuroscience, Columbia University, New York, USA he became Full Professor of Neuroanatomy in 1999 at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and is currently Director of the Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology at the Medical University Innsbruck. Prof. Klimaschewski has been the Austrian representative of COST action B30 (Neural Regeneration and Plasticity, NEREPLAS 2006-2010), ERASMUS coordinator of the Medical University Innsbruck (2002-2008) and is member of the Advisory Board of the ERASMUS program ‚Comparative Morphology'. He was invited as guest professor to Germany (Hannover Medical School), Serbia (University of Belgrade), Czech Republic (University of Brno), Spain (University of the Basque Country), Belgium (University of Antwerp) and China (Capital University Beijing). He is also member of the board of the Anatomical Society. His major field of interests are axotomy-induced neuronal plasticity and receptor tyrosine kinase signaling in the nervous system (


Koschak Alexandra
1995 - 1996 Studies in Biology, University of Innsbruck
1996 - 1998 Doctoral thesis, Department of Biochemical Pharmacology, Medical School, University of Innsbruck, Austria
1999 - 2001 Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Biochemical Pharmacology, Medical School, University of Innsbruck, Austria
2001 - 2007 University Assistant, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, LFU, Innsbruck, Austria Visiting Scientist, at the University of Tübingen, Germany and the University of Padova, Italy
2007 - 2008 Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, LFU, Innsbruck, Austria
2008 Habilitation (Cell biology)
2009 Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, LFU, Innsbruck, Austria
2011 - 2014 Full Professor for "Molecular Sensory Physiology and Pharmacology", Center for Physiology and Pharmacology, Medical University Vienna, Austria
March 2015 Head of "Molecular Sensory Physiology and Pharmacology" Group and Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, LFU, Innsbruck, Austria
2002 Scientific Award of the City of Innsbruck
2003 Dr. Otto-Seibert Scientific Award (University of Innsbruck)
2009 Heribert-Konzett Award (Austrian Pharmacological Society)




Trygve B. Leergaard obtained his MD at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands in 1996, and a PhD in Neuroanatomy at the University of Oslo, Norway in 2000. He is a Professor of Anatomy at the University of Oslo, teaching anatomy to medical students, and investigating structural organization and neural architecture of rodent brain neural systems, using combinations of experimental techniques including axonal tract-tracing, immunohistochemistry, and neuroimaging. Within the Human Brain Project, Leergaard contributes to the development of digital brain atlases and neuroinformatics infrastructure for efficient data mining, storage and dissemination of neuroscience data. In his talk, Leergaard will explain how digital atlasing techniques are used to navigate and integrate heterogeneous experimental data in the Human Brain Project.







D.Phil. in Physics (1980, Summa cum Laude, University of Palermo, Italy). Michele Migliore is the Director of the Palermo Section of the Institute of Biophysics (National Research Council, Italy), Visiting Professor of Cybernetics at the Department of Mathematics and Informatics of the University of Palermo (Italy), and Visiting Scientist at the Department of Neurobiology of the Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, USA). His lab is involved in modelling realistic neurons and networks, synaptic integration processes, and plasticity mechanisms. The main long-term goal is to understand the emergence of higher brain functions and dysfunctions from cellular processes, implementing new tools and using state of the art simulation environments on different supercomputer systems.







Roxana Nat graduated in Chemistry and Medicine and received a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine in 2002. She did postdoctoral studies at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, pioneering the neural differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs).  Since 2008, she joined the Institute for Neuroscience in Innsbruck, established a stem cell facility and generated the first human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) lines in Austria (2011). Roxana Nat habilitated in Neuroscience in 2015. Her research interests are: 1) to explore the pluripotent stem cell (ESCs and iPSCs) conversion into specific neural progenitors, their neuronal specification and functional maturation; 2) to model neurological disorders with pathologically-relevant iPSC derivatives.The derivation of the iPSCs from patients with neurological disorders and their in vitro neural differentiation allow the direct investigation of the neurons that are specifically affected, but otherwise not accessible. Together with her research team, she has generated iPSC lines from patients with different neurological diseases, and differentiated them to specific PNS and CNS neurons.  Additionally, she is lectures for some Courses for the PhD/master students at the Medical University of Innsbruck (Stem cells and neurogenesis, Neural stem cells and neural differentiation, Embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells).




Bárbara Pinheiro is from Portugal. She has done her master in cellular and molecular biology in the University of Coimbra, a master already highly focused in neuroscience. She came to Innsbruck to do her PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Gerald Zernig and to be part of the PhD program, SPIN- Signal Processing in Neurons. Her project is entitled: Neural networks in cocaine vs social interaction preference: Investigating the possible differential involvement of presynaptic partners of accumbens D1-medium spiny neurons.








Name: Sandra Rizzi, PhD
Nationality: Italian
Institute: Institute of Molecular Biology; Genomics, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (LFU)
Current Position/function: PostDoc

2006: BSc., Biomedicine & Biotechnology, University of Veterinarian Medicine Vienna
2008: MSc., Biomedicine & Biotechnology, University of Veterinarian Medicine Vienna
2015: PhD, neuroscience, excellence PhD programme SPIN (signal processing in neurons), Institute of Pharmacology, Medical University Innsbruck






Sandra Santos Sierra graduated in Chemistry (Complutense University, Madrid, Spain) and obtained a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology (Center for Biological Sciences, CSIC, Madrid). She did her postdoctoral studies at the Children´s Hospital in the University of Freiburg (Germany) and since then she works in the field of Innate Immunity. In the Medical University of Innsbruck, her research focuses in the discovering of compounds which modulate the activity of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and also in understanding how the TLR-downstream signaling is impacted in disease.







Alois Saria started his research career investigating functions of neuropeptides in the autonomic and central nervous system and then moved to work on neuropeptides in the central nervous system and mechanism of action of psychoactive drugs and narcotics. More recently his research focused on systems neurobiology, particularly reward systems, and pharmacokinetic and -dynamic aspects of antidepressants and antipsychotics relevant for therapeutic drug monitoring in psychiatry. Techniques applied include behavioural animal models in psychiatry, most recently for addictive behaviour, immunohistochemistry, in-situ hybridization, in-vivo microdialysis, cell and tissue culture, quantitative determination of signaling substances with immunoassays and LC-tandem-mass spectrometry. In the current SPIN projects multielectrode-array recordings and optogenetic methods are in the process of being established.






Christoph Schwarzer (course director) is a microbiologist and biochemist by training. After his PhD he switched to neuropharmacology, combining molecular biology with animal behavior to investigate epilepsy. At present he is heading a research group at the Dept. Pharmacology at the Medical University of Innsbruck, which is part of the doctoral college SPIN (signal processing in neurons), an excellence initiative funded by the Austrian Science Fund. Their main research interest focuses on the functional implications of the endogenous opioid system in physiology and pathophysiology of the brain. Investigating both, the influence of opioids on behavior as well as the functional implication of opioids in epilepsy is crucial to develop novel, efficient, yet save therapies. At present they follow two main lines, one refers to the development of novel classes of drugs with functional selectivity (biased drugs), the other to the development of gene therapy for epilepsy.





Dr Gerald Zernig has a wide-ranging research interest in motivation and dependence syndromes.  He received his MD from the University of Graz, Austria, in 1984, and pursued a career as a pharmacologist and experimental cardiologist before turning to mental disorders as his primary research interest. He spent 3 years in the laboratory of Dr James H Woods at the University of Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, and 1 year in the lab of Dr H Chris Fibiger at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Dr Zernig is a trained and certified psychotherapist in private practice and has continuously served over several decades as an expert court witness in substance-related cases. He is particularly interest in the neuronetworks mediating the reorientation of an individual away from the drug of abuse toward social interaction.