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This series brings together neuroscientists, researchers and students through a number of interactive webinars, with the purpose to inspire the next generation of neuroscientists in Africa and help shape the future of Neuroscience in low- and middle-income countries. 

See our previous webinars below...
Previous webinars...

 Dr Ignacio Fernandez Mata   

Large-PD: More Than 15 Years Working on the Genetics of PD in Latin America

Time: Feb 23, 2021  04:00 PM (GMT) 

 Professor Brad Racette 

Witches, Healing Sticks, and Other Challenges on the Path to Environmental Justice in South Africa

Time: Jan 26, 2021 04:00 PM London 

Dr. Racette is the Robert Allan Finke Professor and Executive Vice Chairman of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and an Honorary Professor of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a graduate of Princeton University, Northwestern University School of Medicine, and completed his neurology residency and fellowship in movement disorders at Washington University School of Medicine. His research focuses on manganese neurotoxicity and environmental risk factors for Parkinson disease. His research is supported by National Institutes of Health, Michael J. Fox Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense, American Parkinson Disease Association, and Cure Alzheimer Foundation. He has led global health research projects for over a decade in South Africa and Finland. His work in South Africa focuses on occupational and environmental manganese with an emphasis on vulnerable populations. He has served as a peer reviewer and advisor for numerous medical journals and international regulatory agencies. He has received numerous awards and has authored over 160 peer reviewed publications.

In this talk, Professor Racette will describe the path to his team developing an innovative environmental manganese neurotoxicity research program, focusing on parkinsonism, in South Africa. He will focus his presentation on the challenges to developing an environmental manganese cohort in Meyerton, South Africa and will present preliminary results from the study.

 Dr Bryan Traynor 

Clinical Utility of ALS and FTD Genetics

Time: Dec 15, 2020 04:00 PM London

Bryan Traynor, M.D., Ph.D., is a neurologist and Senior Investigator at the National Institute on Aging, and adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Traynor is best known for his work aimed at understanding the genetic etiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

He led the international consortium that identified pathogenic repeat expansions in C9orf72 as a common cause of ALS and FTD. He has over 200 publications in professional journals, sits on the editorial boards of JAMA Neurology, JNNP, and Neurobiology of Aging, and has received numerous awards for his work including the NIH Director’s award, the Derek Denny-Brown award, the Sheila Essey award, and the Potamkin Prize.

 Dr Mohamed Salama MD, PhD    

Translational Neurodegeneration; Experience

of the Egyptian Network for Neurodegenerative Diseases (ENND)

Time: Tuesday 24th November, 4:00 PM (GMT) 

Dr. Salama, received his medical degree from Mansoura University in Egypt.He established the first Translational Neuroscience Unit in Egypt, resulting in published findings in international journals and invited presentations. His research on strategies that protect nerve cells from dying in Parkinson’s disease received recognition, continuing to close the gap between basic and clinical neuroscience. Based on his focus on collaborative translational research projects and by funding from international (DFG, DAAD, IBRO, ISN, MDS, PMDF) and national (STDF, ASRT) organizations, Dr Salama founded the Egyptian Network for Neurodegenerative Diseases (ENND) in 2013. Dr. Salama was selected as an SOT Global Senior Scholar in 2013 and a Translational/Bridging awardee in 2016. He was awarded by Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Foundation (PMDF) for his continuing research in the field of neurodegeneration. Currently, Dr. Salama is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Global Health and Human Ecology (I-GHHE), the American University in Cairo, (AUC) and Atlantic Senior Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at Global Brain Health (GBHI), University of California, San Francisco | Trinity College, Dublin and IBRO-MENA Co-Chair.

In this talk, Dr Salama introduces the concept of translational neuroscience/neurodegeneration; the story of the ENND establishment and the goals planned for such a network. more details on the research journey of ENND trying to achieve the translational goals in the fields of genomics and biomarkers development of neurodegenerative diseases aiming to highlight our experience and lesson learned from practicing this in an African country.

 Professor Helene Plun-Favreau 

Mitophagy in Parkinson's Disease, From Genetics to Biology and Back


TIME: Tuesday 27th October 2020, 4:00 PM (GMT). Speaker


Since Professor Helene Plun-Favreau's arrival at UCL in 2007, her laboratory has carried out significant work on the molecular pathways associated with mitophagy and other mitochondrial dysfunctions in neurodegenerative conditions. In the last few years, her laboratory has specialised in developing high content mitophagy screens in order to identify new Parkinson’s (and other neurodegenerative diseases) risk genes. These genes are then validated using an array of live cell microscopy and complex molecular and cellular biology techniques, and a wealth of cell disease models including patient iPSC-derived brain cells. The approaches undertaken provide a more complete picture of the pathways that play a role in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration. Working with academics, clinicians and industry at the interface of basic and applied research, her ultimate aim is to help guide the development of clinically relevant therapeutic strategies for neurodegeneration.

 Professor Adesola Ogunniyi 


Epigenetics and Dementia: Lessons From the 20-Year Indianapolis-Ibadan Dementia Study

TIME: Tuesday 29th September 2020, 4:00 PM (BST).

Professor Adesola Ogunniyi is a clinician, researcher, neuroepidemiologist and Professor of Medicine at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. He is a Consultant Neurologist at the University College Hospital, Ibadan (UCH), and was the Director of Research and later Site Principal Investigator of the Indianapolis-Ibadan Dementia Study that lasted 20 years. Thereafter, he became the Principal Investigator of the Identification and Intervention for Dementia in Elderly Africans (IDEA) study funded by the Grant Challenges Canada. His research interests include the cross-cultural study of dementia, epidemiology of other neurodegenerative diseases, epilepsy and stroke. Description of the webinar: Dementia is of global interest because of the rapid increase in both the number of individuals affected and the population at risk. It is essential that the risk factors be carefully delineated for the formulation of preventive strategies. Epigenetics refers to external modifications that turn genes "on" or "off”, and cross-cultural studies of migrant populations provide information on the interplay of environmental factors on genetic predisposition. The Indianapolis-Ibadan Dementia Study compared the prevalence, incidence and risk factors of dementia in African Americans and Yoruba to tease out the role of epigenetics in dementia. The presentation will provide details on biomarkers of dementia, vascular risk factors and the association with apolipoprotein E in the Yoruba. The purpose will be to inspire early career researchers on possibilities and research strategies applicable in African populations.

 Professor Henrik Zetterberg 

Blood Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative Dementias: An Update

TIME: Tuesday 25th August at 4:00 PM (BST).

 Dr Andrew Singleton 

Exploring the Genetics of Parkinson's Disease: Past, Present, and Future

TIME: Tuesday 28th July at 4:00 PM (BST).

In this talk, Dr Andrew Singleton discussed the progress made so far in understanding the genetic basis of Parkinson’s disease.

He covered the history of discovery from the first identification of disease causing mutations to the state of knowledge in the field today, more that 20 years after that initial discovery. He then discussed current initiatives and the promise of these for informing the understanding and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Lastly, Dr Singleton talks about current gaps in research and knowledge and working together to fill these.

 Professor John Hardy 

The Genetics of Parkinson's Disease: Understanding the Differences between European & African Populations.

TIME: Tuesday 23th June at 4:00 PM (BST).

In the first talk of our webinar series, "Inspiring Research in Neuroscience in Africa", Professor Hardy discusses the different causes and predispositions of PD that exist in Africa and the differences to European populations. He then goes on to discuss the importance of highlighting these differences and the impact of this vital research on people living with PD in Africa, as well as their families and caregivers.


Speaker biography: Prof. John Hardy is the Chair of Molecular Biology of Neurological Disease at the UCL Institute of Neurology with over 23,000 citations. He is a world-leading neurogeneticist in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, receiving numerous accolades that include the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Brain Prize, and, in 2009, being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1991, Hardy's team uncovered the first mutation directly implicated in Alzheimer's disease leading to the formulation of the highly influential 'amyloid-cascade' hypothesis.

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