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¿Quieres ser Neurocientífico? Mira estos cursos y programas de formación

marzo 14, 2015 Interesante No Comments

¿Quieres ser neurocientífico y no sabes por dónde empezar? ¿Estás buscando en internet y no encuentras ningún programa de formación? ¿Quieres hacer unas prácticas y no sabes adónde dirigirte? No te preocupes, aquí en el blog de la SENC te ayudamos a abrirte tu camino en este fascinante universo de la neurociencia. No solo te damos ejemplos, como el de los NeuroPostdocs, hoy te lo ponemos en bandeja para que no tengas excusa y nunca puedas decir que no sabías dónde formarte. … Continue Reading

La FJI/Precarios presenta el nuevo Informe sobre la Carrera Investigadora 2013

noviembre 22, 2013 Destacado, Interesante No Comments
La Federación de Jóvenes Investigadores-Precarios (FJI-Precarios) ha dado a conocer el Informe sobre la Carrera Investigadora 2013 (precarios.org/Informe+Carrera+Investigadora+2013). Se trata de un documento donde se analizan en profundidad las trabas que impiden a los jóvenes investigadores españoles planificar una buena carrera como profesionales de I+D. Igualmente, el documento propone numerosas recomendaciones a medio y largo plazo para paliar los males endémicos que sufre nuestro sistema de I+D y para impulsar un salto de calidad en las diferentes etapas de la carrera investigadora en universidades y centros de investigación españoles.
En la primera parte del documento se exponen los principales problemas a los que actualmente se enfrenta un investigador a lo largo de su carrera científica, desde su etapa predoctoral hasta ser investigador principal. Cada uno de estos problemas está ampliamente desarrollado y se proponen posibles soluciones al mismo. En la segunda parte del documento todas las soluciones se reúnen en la propuesta de un nuevo modelo de carrera investigadora en el cual se da prioridad a la experiencia y a los logros científicos del investigador.

En los enlaces podrás descargarte ambas partes del documento. Puedes dar tu opinión al respecto en los comentarios del blog y en la página de la FJI (www.precarios.org).

Neuropostdocs extranjeros en España


Vesna Prchkovska y Paulo Rodríguez, fundadores de una empresa líder en medicina digital

En nuestro país en los años previos a la crisis económica se incorporaron con fuerza científicos de otros países (aproximadamente un 20,7% de los doctores que trabajaban en España), pero en los últimos años esta cifra ha caído hasta el 7,3% en 2011. Aún así existe una interesante comunidad de neurocientíficos extranjeros que queremos dar a conocer desde la SENC. … Continue Reading

Noelia Martínez Molina Estudiante predoctoral en la Universidad de Barcelona Brain Cognition and Plasticity Group

Neuro-Unconference in Barcelona is back!

After the success of last event in March, the Neuro-Unconference is back!

If you’ d like to learn something  about the brain, but are bored of the usual conferences, come and join us on Tuesday, May 28th, around 5.30 pm, at the civic centre La Sedeta (Calle Sicilia 321) for the second Neuro-Unconference in Barcelona.

Bring along curiosity and enthusiasm, and leave your shyness at home: everyone – scientists, students, professionals- is welcome to discuss and share ideas, in a very informal, interactive, and fun way.

The evening, organised to celebrate the month of the brain by Mara Dierssen (CRG), Begoña Díaz (UPF) Mavi Sánchez-Vives (IDIBAPS), y Rafa de la Torre (IMIM), will develop in two phases.

The debates

Four invited speakers will briefly present their ideas on the following topics

– Neuroplasticity: How our brain changes upon different environmental challenges

– Neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders: Can we cure a diseased brain?

– Neuroscience and education:  Can we help our brain’s learning?

– Brain interface: The future is now

You’ll choose your favorite topic and join a debate group to  discuss it in depth. Curious, skeptical, inquisitive people are particularly welcome to make the conversation interactive and spontaneous.

At the end of the short debates, the four groups will gather to share the conclusions of each one of the discussions.

The Speakers’ corner

Where you could be the protagonist: Do you have an interesting idea on  neuroscience that you’d like to share? Prepare a 1 minute video with your thoughts, put it on you tube (as private), and send the link with a short summary of what you’d like to present  here.

The most interesting videos will be selected, and the winners will present their ideas at the Unconference. Brush up your presentation skills and send a video: you may get your  3 minutes of neuro-celebrity!

The first Neuro-Unconference in Barcelona was a success.

Join us to make the second one even better!

Neuro-unconference 2013 in Barcelona

What are the future treatments available for diseases of the nervous system? What can the general public do to help scientists understanding the brain? How is an experiment done in the lab and what does it mean? Can we improve our brain’s performances? Will we be able to speak another language just thanks to a microchip implanted in our brain? (My hope was high on this one… but, unfortunately, the answer is ‘not in the near future’).

These were some of the curiosities discussed in the very first Neuro-unconference at the Convent de Sant Agustí in Barcelona on March 20th 2013, with a panel of scientists including Mara Dierssen, Mavi Sanchez-Vives, Ramon Trullas, Diego Regolar Ripol, and Elena Muñoz Marrón.

This unconference was ‘a first’, an experiment in itself.

We knew there was going to be a keynote speech on a topic chosen by the public on line; a Speakers’ corner, with young scientist standing up to share some interesting ideas; and the explanation of a proper experiment. But nobody knew how exactly the evening was going to be shaped, not even the organiser, Mara Dierssen.

Mara’s point was that interaction with lay public can help scientists in their job, so purposely this unconference didn’t have a path set in stones.

The people’s choice

On the CRG website, people could vote beforehand for the topic they’d like to know more about.

First, Mavi Sanchez took us through the different topics proposed: among things like cyborg, artificial intelligence, use or recreational drugs, implication of neuroscience on ethical issues, the majority of the people voted to know more about the feature of treatments for neurological diseases.

It seems like we are all freaking out.

Ramon Trullas, a pessimist by admission, pointed out a few factors responsible for the current lack of powerful treatments for neurological diseases:

1) Neuroscience is still a new discipline: there is a lot we don’t know

2) Just few neurological illnesses are genetic. Understanding the human genome didn’t allow a big progress for neuroscience as for other disciplines

3)  Diseases are generally studied according to the formula one organ= one disease. The brain is more complicated than that, its work is not just a function of its anatomy, but also of integration of signals.

4) Major pharma companies, scared by all of the above, have been cutting down on investments in CNS drugs.

However, not all treatments have to come from drugs.

Diego Regolar Ripol and Elena Muñoz Marrón described a relatively new technique, called transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS.

This technique is based on the principles of electromagnetic induction: a very powerful magnetic field, positioned closed to a conductor generates an electric impulse.

In TMS, a plastic-enclosed coil of wire is positioned in a specific point on the head. When the coil is activated, it generates an electromagnetic field that passes through skin and skull and, at the brain levels, changes the neuronal activity of the treated areas. At the moment, the field doesn’t have deep penetration, so TMS can be used to study just the more superficial layers of the brain (the cortex). However, scientists all around the world are trying to boost this technique, to be able to study even deeper brain layers involved in neurological disorders.

Repetitive applications cause long term effects, making TMS a powerful new tool for the treatment of neurological conditions like depression, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, autism, post-traumatic disorder, chronic pain and anxiety.

Maybe the future is not so bleak, after all.

The Speaker corner

This was really entertaining: 7 young neuro-enthusiastic – scientists and not- shared with us some of their ideas, in less than five minutes each. We discussed language (Julia Monte); the ability of learning new things even when we are no more kids (Jesus Antonio Bas), similarity between the brain and an electric circuit (Belen Sancristobal); neuroarchitecture, a cross talk between neuroscience and architecture that can help shaping buildings in a way better suited to their functions (Fernanda Matas and Ruth Costa); what is ‘conscience’ (Mark Quevado), and the risks of recreational drugs (Mireia Ventura).


Kudos to these young speakers who had the hard job of standing up in front of a crowd and translate science lingo for the public!

The Experiment

Ever thought about being a scientist for a day? Mara Dierssen’s lab set up a mock experiment on the CRG website and asked people to give it a go. The person that gave the best answers will go in the actual lab and do the experiment for real.

Marta Fructuoso and Jose Antonio Espinosa explained the different steps of the experiment.

The question was:

Can a difference in ‘Protein x’ effect the ability of mice to learn?

There are two groups of mice, one is a ‘control’, the other has something different in regard to the ‘Protein x’. (In real life it can mean that the mice doesn’t have the protein x, has a slightly different protein x, has less of it, has more… but for this purpose we don’t need to spell it out).

To study mice’s learning ability, Marta and Jose set up a water maze test. This is a standard behavioral test we use in the lab to assess learning abilities over time: The scientists put the mouse in a maze with water; on the borders of the maze there are visual clues, allowing the mouse to orient himself. Underneath the water there is a platform, invisible to the animal: mice don’t love swimming, so they will look for a place where to rest. At first, it would take the mouse some time to find the platform, swimming around to explore the surrounding. The procedure is repeated over time ( day 1, day 2 and so on) and the scientists assess if the mouse has learned where the platform is by measuring the distance it swims before finding the platform. If the mouse has been learning, it will take progressively less swimming around to find the platform.


As a scientist, it was interesting to see what non-scientists see in our experiments and charts, and how they interpret the data. I’m not going to give you the answer: The experiment is still up here. Try it for yourself and I’m sure the scientists in Mara Dierssen’s lab would be delighted to discuss your doubts.

The scientist’s take

I loved the unconference format. I’m used to formal, never-ending meetings…  sometimes boring.

The relaxed environment of the unconference allowed people to converse freely, with exchanges, no barriers between experts and public. And although I am a scientist, I learnt something new: for example, I learned more about TMS, and also that people want to help and collaborate even if they are not scientist. As Mara Dierssen and Mavi Sanchez said, there are lots of ways of doing that: to volunteer for studies, but also to donate organs for research. On the other hand, the curiosity, the support and the interaction with people in itself is helpful for scientists, and someone with a different point of view, not so ingrained in the problem, could really help us analysing things in different ways and come up with different solutions.

The public’s take

I sat next to a lovely lady who turns out to be an airplane pilot. She was so kind to talk with me about the unconference. Guess what? She loved it too, and she wasn’t ‘familiar’ with all these ‘brain stuff’. Not only she enjoyed the relaxed format, she learned something new, which I think is one of the main point for a meeting like this

I wish more conference were un-conference.

Big thanks to the organiser, the speakers, the people in the public, and the one who followed the unconference on streaming for their contribution.

Neurounconference pic


Brain Awareness Week in Barcelona

Mark your calendars and enjoy a week of brainy stuff: Brain Awareness Week is back!
Dr Mara Dierssen, of the CRG-Center for Genomic Regulation is one of the BAW partners in Barcelona.

You can found the complete list of events taking place in the city here.

There are two main events you can’t miss:
• ‘What is Alexia? ‘
Angels Prat Pla, Albert Costa and Begoña Diaz will take us on a journey to understand language and its neuronal basis
Wednesday, March 13th (7 pm) at the Sagrada Familia library (Provenza 480, Barcelona)
• Neuro-unconference, Wednesday, March 20th (5-8 pm) at the Civic Center San Augustine ( Trade 36, Barcelona)
What is a Neuro-unconference?
Don’t frown on the idea of long complicated lectures: this unconference is full of surprises.

Do you want to know more about future treatments in neurology or about cyborgs? Make your voice heard and decide what the talk is going to be about!
By visiting this website you can vote among six topics and decide which one will be discussed with an expert.
1. The brain of the future of cyborgs and other beings.
2. Guilty or innocent, ethical dilemmas and brain.
3. Hallucinating, recreational drugs, yes or no?
4. The future of treatment in neurology: can we improve our brain?
5. Gene therapy brain? Fiction or reality?
6. The brain maps omics, does a GPS to find the causes of mental illness?

Ever wonder how a real experiment is done? Now, you can also become a scientist for a day: help the scientists interpret this experiment and you can win the chance of getting in the lab and see it with your own eyes.
Also, in the Speakers’ corner, you’ll find scientists and non-scientists exposing their ideas in five minutes, in topics ranging from ‘the relationship between architecture and neuroscience’ to ‘what Conscience is’.

BAW in Barcelona, here we come
Sponsored by the DANA foundation since 1996, the BAW is the occasion for neuroscientists to leave the ivory tower and share their enthusiasm with people, and for people to learn, question, get involved and (why not) contribute to the progress of our understanding of the brain. During the week, more than 800 events will take place around the globe to increase public awareness on brain research.
I will be reporting from Barcelona: come along, share your thoughts and enjoy.

El mal del cerebro

enero 30, 2012 Interesante No Comments

La Neurociencia avanza. Este es uno de los mensajes que el documental “el mal del cerebro” nos deja de forma entretenida y plausible. Algunos de los más reconocidos centros de investigación españoles nos enseñan nuevas tecnologías que permiten el estudio y tratamiento de enfermedades neurológicas tan comunes como el Parkinson o el Alzheimer.

Resulta muy interesante la forma en la que se entrelazan las historias de los protagonistas. Expertos y pacientes hablan de cómo ven funciones tan importantes como el movimiento y el recuerdo, las diferentes perspectivas nos dejan un mensaje claro: “el cerebro manda”. Conocer el código de la mente o descubrir los entresijos del sustrato neuronal son hitos de la Neurociencia que se están escribiendo.

La investigación del sistema nervioso en España es pionera y así queda plasmado en “el mal del cerebro”.

Lecturas de interés:
Neurorobotic and hybrid management of lower limb motor disorders: a review
Mechanical suppression of essential tremor
Reorganization of functional connectivity as a correlate of cognitive recovery in acquired brain injury
Aging impairs the control of prefrontal cortex on the release of corticosterone in response to stress and on memory consolidation
Regulator of G-protein signaling 14 protein modulates Ca²+ influx through Cav1 channels


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European Journal of Neuroscience