European Society for Neurochemistry

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The European Society for Neurochemistry (ESN) is a professional society for neurochemists and neuroscientists from Europe whose research concerns the role and interactions of small molecules in the function, and pathology of the nervous system.


The Society was founded in 1976 with the aim of helping to advance the science of Neurochemistry for the public benefit, in particular to facilitate exchange of ideas and interests amongst its members.

In the years before the establishment of the ESN, many European Neurochemists (from Biochemistry, Physiology, Neurology and related disciplines) were centrally involved in the development of the subject, for example in the discussions which led to the establishment of the Journal of Neurochemistry in 1956 and especially in the formation of the International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN) in 1967. In the same year as the foundation of ISN (1967), the Neurochemical Group of the British Biochemical Society was established, many of its meetings with an international and particularly European flavour.[1]

During the years 1974 to 1975, in particular at a meeting of clinical neurochemists organised by Armand Lowenthal in Brussels in 1974, many participants expressed the need in Europe for a Society of Neurochemistry which would not only provide a forum for exchanging ideas and new developments in the subject, but also provide a vehicle for strong contact between clinically oriented and basic neurochemists. The various views were finally co–coordinated at a meeting organised by Lars Svennerholm at the Billinghus conference centre in Skovde, Sweden, in May 1975. Some general principles were agreed: that it should be open to members from all European countries, East and West, who were interested in Neurochemistry and allied subjects, and that it should pay special attention to clinical and applied aspects of the subject.

The working party accepted an invitation, through Alan Davison from the Neurochemical Group of the British Biochemical Society, to organise the First Meeting to be held in Bath, UK, in September 1976. The organising committee (Brian Ansell, Tim Hawthorne, George Lunt and Herman S. Bachelard) were all members of the Neurochemical Group of the British Biochemical Society. The working party had requested that the meeting should have a clinical theme, so the general area of "Basic Aspects of Neurochemistry Related to the Epilepsies" was chosen. Approximately 350 participants attended the meeting.


Meetings are held every two years. From 1999, every six years the ISN helps organise a joint meeting with the International Society for Neurochemistry, the latest meeting being held in Athens in 2011. ESN meetings are designed to promote scientific discussions. Special efforts are taken to encourage young investigator participation. Short oral presentations are selected from the submitted abstracts. There are daily poster sessions

1976 Bath Topic: Basic Aspects of Neurochemistry Related to the Epilepsies, organiser Herman S. Bachelard

1978 Göttingen, organiser Volker Neuhoff

1980 Bled Topic:Synaptic Constituents in Health and Disease, organiser Miro Brzin

1982 Taormina Topic: Basic and Clinical Aspects of Molecular Neurobiology, organiser Anna-Maria Giuffrida-Stella

1984 Budapest Topic: Regulation of Transmitter Function: Basic and Clinical Aspects, organiser Sylvester Vizi

1986 Prague Topic: Molecular Basis of Neural Function, organiser Stan Tucek

1988 Göteborg, organiser Annica Dahlström

1990 Leipzig, organiser Dietmar Biesold

1992 Dublin, organiser Keith Tipton

1994 Jerusalem, organiser Keith Tipton

1996 Groningen Topic: Neurochemistry: Cellular, Molecular & Clinical Aspects, organiser Albert Teelken

1998 St. Petersburg oraniser, Svetlana Dambinova

1999 Berlin (with ISN), organiser Ferdinand Hucho

2001 Perugia Topic: Advances in Molecular Mechanisms of Neurological Disorders, organiser Gianfrancesco Goraacci

2003 Warsaw Topic: Advances in Molecular Mechanisms of Neurological Disorders, organiser Katarzyna Nalecz

2005 Innsbruck (with ISN) organiser, Alois Saria

2007 Salamanca Topic: Advances in Molecular Mechanisms of Neurological Disorders, organiser Juan Bolanos

2009 Leipzig Topic: Advances in Molecular Mechanisms of Neurological Disorders, organiser Thomas Arendt

2011 Athens (with ISN), organiser Dimitra Mangoura

2013 Bath Topic: Advances in Molecular Mechanisms of Neurological Disorders, organiser Robert J Williams


ESN Council[edit]

Juan P. Bolanos (ESN President) University of Salamanca, Spain

Alessandro Prinetti (ESN Secretary) University of Milano, Italy

Ralf Dringen (ESN Treasurer) University of Bremen, Germany

Jacqueline S. de Belleroche (ESN Company Secretary) Imperial College London, UK

Frode Fonnum (ESN Historian) University of Oslo, Norway

Dusan Dobrota Comenius University/Jessenius Medical Faculty, Slovak Republic.

Illana Gozes Tel Aviv University, Israel

Simon Heales National Hospital & Institute of Neurology, London, UK

Joâo Laranjinha University of Coimbra, Portugal

Natalia Nalivaeva University of Leeds, UK and Russian Academy of Science, St Petersburg, Russia

Max P.E. Recasens CNRS Universite Montepellier II, France

Ago Rinken University of Tartu, Estonia

Reinhard Schliebs University of Leipzig, Germany

Ursula Sonnewald NTNU-Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

Helle S. Waagepetersen Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Copenhagen, Denmark

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Bachelard, 1988)

Bachelard HS (1988) A brief history of neurochemistry in Britain and of the Neurochemical Group of the British Biochemical Society. J Neurochem. 1988 50:992-5.