Lucia Prieto Godino (Founder and Director) – UK / Spain

Lucia obtained her B.A. from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, where she did her research thesis on olfactory processing in flies. After a summer working on vision evolution in box jellyfish at Lund University, she joined the University of Cambridge for her PhD. During her PhD she studied the embryonic development of the Drosophila olfactory system, receiving her PhD in 2011. After that she was FEBS postdoctoral fellow at CIG in Lausanne University before joining The Crick Institute in London as a group leader in 2018. Her research focuses on the genetic basis of olfactory pathway evolution in Drosophila.

Lab website:



Tom Baden (Founder and Director) – UK / Germany

Tom studied Natural Sciences with a special focus in Neuroscience at Cambridge, where he also completed his PhD at the Department of Zoology on the cricket auditory system in 2008. Following a two year PostDoc position at the MRC-Laboratory for Molecular Biology, Cambridge, Tom the German Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN) in Tübingen for a second postdoc before starting his own group in 2016. His research focuses on vertebrate visual information processing.

Lab website:



Sadiq Yusuf (Director of African Affairs) – Uganda / Nigeria

Sadiq obtained his PhD in Physiology with a special focus on Gastroenterology from Ahmadu Bello University of Zaria in Nigeria, his research focussed on elucidating the neural mechanism involved in gastric mucosa protection. He now teaches Physiology to Medical students at St Augustine International University, Uganda where he also holds the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs. He is currently focused on advocating for science research through science outreach and policy changes.



Jelena Aleksic (UK Director) – UK

Jelena did her PhD in Steve Russell’s lab at the University of Cambridge, using a mixture of experimental and computational methods to study transcription factor binding and gene expression in the developing Drosophila nervous system. She is now a postdoc in the Frye lab at the WT-MRC Stem Cell Institute in Cambridge, studying the epigenetics of stem cell differentiation. She is interested in understanding the regulatory logic of the genome and its evolution, as well as in applications of that understanding, such as synthetic biology and personalised medicine. She blogs about biology at Genomics Adventures, and you can also find her on Twitter (@firegenome).


yunus Yunusa M Garba (Director of West African Affairs) – Germany / Nigeria

I studied Human Anatomy at undergraduate level in University of Maiduguri Nigeria 2007 and I am an alumnus of Insect Neuroscience and Drosophila neurogenetics course in Uganda in the summer of 2011. During my MSc thesis I studied sexual dimorphism in olfactory systems of Drosophila at Kampala International University. In 2013 I joined Gombe University, Nigeria. My Phd research interest is studying the biological process of memory formation in the context of epigenetics.


Mahmoud Bukar Maina (Outreach) – UK / Nigeria

Mahmoud did his BSc in Human Anatomy at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, where he first developed a strong interest in Neuroscience. Afterwards he served as a tutor at the school of Psychiatric Nursing, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Maiduguri and later joined Gombe State University, where he took part in a number of craniometric researches using human subjects. In 2011, he joined University of Sussex for his MSc in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience where he graduated with the top distinction in his class. His MSc research focused on understanding the interaction between Aβ42 and microtubule-associated protein tau in the context of Alzheimer’s disease. His MSc performance and strong enthusiasm in research led Sussex to award him with Chancellor’s International Research Scholarship to study for his PhD in Neuroscience and to expand on his MSc research. Mahmoud is an alumnus of 2013 TReND-organized 2nd IBRO school of Insect Neuroscience and Drosophila Neurogenetics, KIU, Uganda



Ana Florencia Silbering (Teach in Africa!) – Switzerland

Ana received her MSc in Biology from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Before moving to Berlin, Germany for her PhD, she was a Summer Reaserch Fellow at Rockefeller University. She received her PhD in 2007 from the Free University of Berlin for her work on olfactory processing in Drosophila. After some time working at the University of Konstanz, Germany she moved to Lausanne where she is a postdoc at the University of Lausanne. She is currently studying the molecular basis of olfactory detection in Drosophila.



Fabiana Arieti (Equipment coordinator) – Switzerland

Fabiana studied Molecular Biology at the University of Parma (Italy). In 2009 she moved to Geneva (Switzerland), to do her PhD. During the PhD she did structural studies of RNA-protein complexes by means of X-ray Crystallography, with emphasis on a particular complex involved in nuclear receptor signaling, which play a key role in several diseases, including various types of cancer. She received her PhD in January 2014, and currently she is working in the same laboratory at Geneva University, as post-doc. She is very much interested in translational medicine. She would like to combine her molecular and structural Biology background with a clinical point of view and to challenge the communication between science and medicine with other fields in society (such as international organizations, politics and arts), in order to expand human connections and creativity in research, allowing a more efficient cure of diseases and improving quality of people’s lives.



Alberto Loche (Strategic Relations and Funding) – Switzerland

Alberto is currently completing his doctoral program in Neurobiology at the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel. He begun his studies at the University of Bologna (B.Sc. and M.Sc.) and worked as Visiting Scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Portland, USA before moving to Switzerland. His research focuses on the epigenetic regulation of neural development in health and disease.
He has served as PhD Representative at FMI since 2012 and as Founding Member of the young Chapter of the Swiss Society for Neuroscience since 2013.
He is passionate about travelling, water sports and plays the Piano.



Andre Maia Chagas (Open Source Guru) – Germany

André obtained a B.Sc. in biology at the University of São Paulo. He then moved to Germany where he studied Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences at the University of Tübingen, completing a master’s degree. He is currently doing his PhD on temporal estimation and value change measurements in behaving rats in the same University. Apart from his PhD he is interested in making science broadly available, be it on better communicating it for non specialized audiences or finding/designing cheaper open source solutions to be used in laboratories (more details here).

Contact: andremaia.chagas<at>


Mariana Zaichuk (Flickr / Zurich Contact) – Switzerland

Mariana obtained her B.Sc. in Biology/Biophysics at the National University in Kyiv, where she joined a lab that specialized on ion channels. Later she continued her education at the University of Tübingen, where she obtained her M.Sc. in Neuroscience and did her thesis in the area of retinal research. Currently she is doing her PhD thesis at the University of Zürich in the field of neurodegenerative diseases.


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Marie Pertin (Lausanne CHUV Contact) – Switzerland

Marie Pertin obtained her lab technician degree in 1996 at the University of Lyon (France). She spent 1 year at the University of Tübingen (Germany) and then went back to France where she worked for 2 years in the laboratory of transgenesis of the Commissariat à l‘Energie Atomique (CEA) in Grenoble. With those 2 experiences, she developed her professional skills in microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, in vitro and in vivo approaches. Since 2001 she works in the research laboratory of the pain center of the University Hospital Center (CHUV) and University of Lausanne (UNIL), Switzerland. Her main project is to investigate the molecular mechanisms in the central and peripheral nervous systems leading to chronic neuropathic pain.

Jeremy Herren (icipe / Kenya contact) – Kenya

Jeremy is interested by the interactions between maternally transmitted endosymbiontic bacteria and their insect hosts. He completed his bachelors’ degree at the University of Oxford where he carried out research on dynamics of endosymbiont infection in populations of Butterflies in Kenya. Jeremy’s PhD and post-doctoral research was carried out in Bruno Lemaitre’s group at the Swiss Institute of Technology (EPFL) where he explored the mechanistic basis of interactions between endosymbionts and Drosophila melanogaster. Jeremy is currently based at ICIPE in Nairobi, where he is exploring the use of endosymbiotic bacteria as a means to control insect-vector borne diseases.



Mwichie Namusamba (Zambia contact) – Zambia

My name is Mwichie Namusamba. I obtained my BSc in Molecular Biology from the University of Zambia, in 2009. I since joined the school of Natural Sciences as a staff development fellow in the cluster of Molecular Biology and Genetics. In 2011, I moved to China and joined the laboratory of professor Huang Baiqu at Northeast Normal University were I undertook a MSc. research programme in Genetics. I was awarded my MSc in July 2013 after completion of my research on mechanisms of the induction of apoptosis by onco- protein, HMGA2, after which I went back to Zambia and currently working as a junior lecturer at the University of Zambia. I am also building on a research proposal on apoptosis pathway signaling during seizure-induced neuronal death and epileptogenesis, which if feasible, i would like to use Drosophila melanogaster as the model organism.


Parslow Photo #2 2013b
Peter Parslow (Australia contact and Instrumentation Advisor) – Australia

Peter obtained his BBSc(HONS) degree in Psychology before completing a Ph.D in neonatal sleep and respiratory physiology at Monash University, Australia. After living in China to develop ADInstruments’ business throughout ASIA, Peter is now General Manager of the International Division and Joint Ventures at ADInstruments, Australia. He is responsible for commercial operations throughout Africa, the Middle-East, Asia-Pacific, Indian-Subcontinent and Russia. He has an extensive knowledge of scientific instrumentation, providing sales, training and support services throughout the African continent and developing a network of commercial and academic partners within the region.


Thomas Karikari (Ghana Contact) – Ghana/UK

Thomas studied for his B.Sc in Biochemistry at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana, which he completed with a First Class Honours in 2010. After a year of service as a Teaching and Research Assistant to the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at KNUST, he was awarded a prestigious Commonwealth scholarship to study for an MSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, which he completed with the highest distinction score in his class in 2012. His MSc thesis focused on advancing molecular insights into the involvement of the alpha-synuclein protein in Parkinson’s disease. Thomas currently works as a Lecturer at Wa Polytechnic in Ghana, teaching courses in Science Laboratory Technology. He hopes to begin a PhD soon, working on neurodegenerative diseases and neuro-restorative treatments.


Lukas von Tobel (Volunteering programme) – Switzerland

Lukas finished his MSc degree in 2008 at the ETH in Zürich. After spending some time as a research assistant at the STI in Basel in Switzerland working on Malaria and later at the Virology department at Umeå University in Sweden working on Puumala Virus, he started his PhD in 2010 at EPFL back in Lausanne, Switzerland. During his PhD he worked on the maintenance and elimination of centrioles in the nematode C. elegans and in human cells. He obtained his PhD degree in 2014. He is currently still at EPFL working on the aspects of polarity establishment in C. elegans.


CC BY-SA 4.0
Jens Klinzing (Open Source) – Germany

Jens studied Cognitive Science (Osnabrück, Germany) and Neural and Behavioural Sciences (Tübingen, Germany) before turning to sleep and memory research. As a doctoral student he works on the neural mechanisms of sleep-associated memory consolidation in humans at the Institute for Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology in Tübingen. Apart from his research he is interested in low-tech alternatives to expensive EEG setups and to spread the word on the importance of a restful good night’s sleep.


Thirumalaisamy P Velavan (Central African contact) – Tübingen / Congo

Dr. Velavan currently heads a research group on molecular genetics of infectious diseases at the Institute for Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Germany. His research group is comprised of young scientists from across multiple continents motivated to improve global health by basic scientific research on various pathogenic diseases. His research group focuses on molecular diagnostics of infectious diseases, lectin complement genetics and on host-parasite genetics. He is interested in developing simple and novel innovative methods and tools that can be used at labs where resources are limited. Dr. Velavan is also affiliated as a Scientific Coordinator with Fondation Congolaise pour la Recherche Médicale (FCRM), Brazzaville, Republic Congo.

For more detail, see here

See also: and


Francine Ntoumi (Central African contact) – Tübingen / Congo
Prof. Ntoumi is the coordinator of the Multilateral Initiative on malaria Secretariat and of the regional Central Africa Network of Excellence on Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria involving Cameroon, Gabon and republic of Congo institutions. This project aims at building capacities for conducting clinical trials on these three diseases.

Malaria activities focus on the evaluation of immune responses to different malaria antigens candidates as malaria vaccines in children living in Southern Brazzaville. Tuberculosis focus on the prevalence and characterization of resistance profiles of mycobacterium strains in patients with and without HIV infection followed up at the University Teaching Hospital (CHUB) and at the Centre Anti-Tuberculeux (CAT) of Brazzaville. The genetic diversity and resistance profiles of HIV strains will be also determined in TB infected patients. A social sciences study is being carried out to investigate the willingness of the Congolese population to participate in malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB clinical trials. More information here.

See also: and


Joseph Raimondo (Southern African  contact) – UCT, South Africa

Joe studied medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He then pursued a MSc and later a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Oxford studying epilepsy and ion dynamics in the nervous system. After a small 3 month postdoc at the  École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Joe returned home in 2013 to help develop basic neuroscience research capacity in South Africa. He is now a scientific research officer at the Univeristy of Cape Town with a small lab investigating inhibitory synaptic transmission and cellular mechanisms in epilepsy.joseph.raimondo<at>


Isabel Peset Martin (Publicity) – UK

Isabel did her PhD between Heidelberg (Germany) and Barcelona (Spain). She stared at European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) as a summer student bur her little project become big enough to be a PhD thesis, which finished at the Centro de Regulación Genómica (CRG). She studied how the mitotic spindle forms during cell division using frog’s eggs. She did a short Post-doc at the university of Cambridge where she learnt about neurons and drosophila as a model system. She is currently back to study cell division in the Cancer Research Institute in Cambridge. Her general interested is to understand what is happening inside the cell.


Angelo Tedoldi (London contact) – UK

Angelo obtained his B.Sc in Biotechnologies from Università degli Studi di Brescia. Whilst there, he undertook research at the Genetics and Molecular Biology Department, studying novel mutations in collagen and their effects on fibroblasts of affected patients. After a break from research during which time he moved to London and improved his English, he joined the laboratory of Dr Frances Edwards at University College London to study Alzheimer’s disease. He worked as research assistant in the lab and also undertook the taught part of the M.Sc in Nueroscience to gain more knowledge on Neuroscience and the brain. He is currently doing his PhD with Dr Paola Pedarzani at the Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology department of UCL investigating the changes in membrane excitability and potassium channel expression and function taking place in the hippocampal formation during ageing.


Jorge Ivan Castillo-Quan (Grant advisor) – UK /USA

Jorge obtained his M.D. from the Autonomous University of Yucatan in Mexico. During his time as a medical student he also did summer research trainings at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Cambridge. After completing his training in General Medicine, he continued further training at the Cell Physiology Institute (IFC, UNAM) and obtained his MSc in Clinical Neuroscience at the Institute of Neurology, University College London. He recently completed his PhD in Genetics and Molecular Neuroscience under the supervision of Prof. Dame Linda Partridge and Prof. John Hardy at UCL. His research is oriented towards understanding the biology of ageing and neurodegenerative diseases (and other ageing-related diseases) using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.


Wael Mohamed (Directior of North African Affairs, HUMaN TReND) – Egypt

I am a Clinical Pharmacologist, Neuroscientist and Psychiatrist. I hold an M.D. (Egypt), M.Sc. (Egypt) and Ph.D. (USA). I dedicated my career to neurological research and medical teaching. My research focus is to advance the knowledge and understanding the neurological diseases through unconventional thinking. Therefore, my translational research targets the investigation and development of novel treatment for such resistant diseases. After finishing my training in neurosurgery department during my H.O. period, I started my career as a clinical pharmacologist with a psychopharmacology as a subspecialty. Currently, I am an assistant Professor at Menoufiya Medical School, Egypt. Regarding my teaching philosophy; it is summarized by the acronym “LEARNING” which includes: Leadership, Energy, Analysis, Respect, Novelty, Imagination, Neighborhood and Growth. I value these concepts and try my best to implement them in my courses.


Anjalie Schlaeppi

Anjalie Schlaeppi (Fundraising and Equipment) – Switzerland

I am currently a biology master student at the University of Geneva. I got my bachelor in biology form the same university in 2014 and I am since then working as an intern in Professor Hugues’s lab in the immunology and pathology department. I participate in two projects that focus on extrathymic T-cell development. Our first project concerns hematopoietic-transplanted patient and how their immune repertoire regenerates after such a procedure. Our second project also concerns extrathymic T-cell development with a focus on lymph-node stromal cells.



Shubo Chakrabarti (TReND links and grants advisor) – Germany

Shubo Chakrabarti obtained his MSc from Kings College London. After obtaining his PhD from the Pennsylvania State University in the US, where he worked on sensorimotor processing in the barrel cortex of rodents, Shubo moved to the German Primate Center in Göttingen to work on the movement planning in rhesus monkeys funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Currently he is at the CIN in Tübingen working as an independently funded investigator on brainstem circuits in the rat.



Giulia Gaudenzi (Sweden contact) – Sweden

Giulia has a BSc in Veterinary Biotechnology from the University of Bologna in Italy and a MSc in Biomedicine from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet in the lab of Dr. Ola Hermanson studying the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of neural stem cells to increase understanding of neurodevelopment disorders. She combines her thesis work with collaborations with the Centre for Global Health at Karolinska (KICGH).

In parallel to her PhD, she is a fellow of the advanced interdisciplinary program at the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, where she is currently working together with a highly diverse and international team tackling challenges ranging from community building programs, research connectivity and science outreach for the public.



Tibor Auer (Human TReND) – UK

Tibor obtained his M.D. from the Medical Faculty of the Pécs University in Hungary in 2005, where he did his research thesis on gel-to-gel phase-transition in rat brain neurons. He completed his PhD at the Department of Neurosurgery at the same place on implementing modern neuroimaging techniques in a clinical environment in 2009.

He joined the BiomedNMR at Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen in 2008, where he started a post-doc project on neurofeedback (NFB) using real-time fMRI in 2009.

Since 2013, he is a post-doc at MRC-Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge. He develops, optimises and implements methods for (f)MRI acquisition and analysis, and provides a support for them. He also continues his NFB research in Cambridge now focusing on methodological developments and application on influencing affective/cognitive processes.


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Jan Freyberg (Human TReND) – UK

Jan received his BA in Psychology & Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge in 2012. He is currently working on his PhD in the psychophysics of autism at the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, UK. His main interest is the interaction of competing percepts in the visual field.


Shabab, Picture

Shabab Hannan (Publicity / Funding) – Germany

Shabab obtained his B.Sc. in Neuroscience from University College London in 2009. He then moved to Tübingen to do his M.Sc. in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience. During this Master thesis he learnt in vivo imaging in the nervous system of Drosophila larvae and decided to continue his Ph.D. in the same laboratory where he employs behavioral, electrophysiological and genetic tools. Shabab’s research interests include the interplay between genes involved in diseases of the nervous system and would like to continue working in the field.


Prof Isa

Isa M Hussaini (Nigeria contact) – Nigeria/USA

Isa studied Pharmacy (B.Sc) at Amadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria before moving to London, UK for his M.Sc and Ph.D in Pharmacology. Following his MBA from Averett University, VA USA he worked as a lecturer and researcher in several institutes in Nigeria, UK and USA. He now is a Professor for Pathology and Neuroscience at the University of Virginia, USA and the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.


Peter_crop Peter Ekanem (Ethiopia/Mekelle contact) – Ethiopia

Peter obtained his PhD in Anatomy at Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria. He studied on the effect of the extract of the seed of Datura Stramonium (commonly used to increase intoxication in some alcoholic beverages) on, the CREB protein, Serum free Sialic acid and histology of the neurons in the frontal cortex, cerebellum and hippocampus. He is currently teaching Anatomy and coordinating molecular biology workshops at Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia


Ahmet Tugrul Ozdemir (Austria contact) – Austria

Tugrul recently graduated from Bilkent University Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics with a minor in psychology. On his third year, he studied at the University of California, Davis as an exchange student where he worked with Prof. Ted Powers in the field of cell biology. Additionally, he completed three neuroscience internships at the KU Leuven (with Prof. Bassem Hassan), Stanford University (with Assoc. Prof. Lu Chen) and University of Oxford (with Prof. Peter Somogyi). In his senior project, he investigated the effects of caloric restriction on zebrafish brain aging. He will start pursuing a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Thomas Klausberger at the Center for Brain Research of Medical University of Vienna in September 2013. His interests include spatio-temporal organisation of cortical networks responsible for learning and decision making.

Contact: tugrul.oezdemir<at>


Andrew Beale (Mozambique / Malawi contact) – Mozambique

Andrew did his PhD in Prof David Whitmore’s lab at UCL, using a combination of molecular biology techniques and lab- and field- based approaches to research the evolution of the circadian clock of Astyanax mexicanus. He is interested in different levels of evolution, which stems from broader experience of whole-organism biology in his BA from Cambridge University, having worked on insect biomechanics for my undergraduate research thesis.

More recently he has worked in science communication, as an Explainer in London’s Science Museum and as the Christmas Lectures Assistant for the Royal Institution’s 2013 Christmas Lectures, Life Fantastic. He is continuing this research communication theme whilst being based in Mozambique, working as a writing mentor for AuthorAID with researchers from developing nations throughout the world. He also blogs at and on Twitter (@drbatmo).



Christopher Brian Currin (South Africa contact) – SA, Cape town

Chris completed his BSc at Rhodes University and then his BSc (Med) Honours at the University of Cape Town, where he investigated the effects of early alcohol exposure on hippocampal and prefrontal protein expression in rats. He also investigated the applicability of improved nucleotide evolution models using computational phylogenetic analysis. He is currently studying an MSc (Med) Neuroscience at the University of Cape Town, where he is investigating chloride dynamics in an electrophysiological and computational model of deep brain stimulation. His research interests extend to (lucid) dreaming and artificial neural networks.
chris<at> or chris.currin<at>

Stefan Pulver (Grant Advisor and US East Coast Contact – Janelia Farm) – USA

Stefan obtained his Ph.D. at Brandeis University where he studied motor control in lobsters and fruit flies. As a postdoc at Cambridge University, Stefan studied development and function of central pattern generators controlling locomotion in Drosophila larvae. Stefan is now continuing this line of work as a Junior Fellow at Janelia Farm Research Campus. In recent years, Stefan has also focused on making cutting-edge research tools in Drosophila neurogenetices accessible for educators, students, and laypeople. Stefan teaches at the Cold Spring Harbor Drosophila Neurobiologysummer course and is a co-founder of the CrawFly neurophysiology course for educators at Cornell University.


Marta Rivera-Alba (Teach in Africa!) – USA
Marta completed a 5-years Bachelor Degree (2001-2006) on Physics in Madrid (Spain). Right after, she did a Masters in Biophysics (2007) and a PhD also in Biophysics (2011) between Gonzalo G de Polavieja lab in Spain and Dmitri Chklovskii lab at JFRC (HHMI) in USA. At the beginning of 2012 she joined Christen’s Mirth Lab at IGC, Portugal as a Postdoctoral Researcher. In parallel to her research in June 2013 she finished a Masters on Science Education at The National Distance Education University (UNED, Spain). In July 2013 she joined Kristin Branson Lab in JFRC (HHMI), USA, also as a Postdoctoral Researcher.
Katharina Anton-Erxleben (HUMaN TReND and NYC/Washington D.C. contact) – USA

Katharina obtained her Ph.D. from the International Max-Planck Research School for Neurosciences, Göttingen, Germany, where she studied the effects of attention on the responses of single neurons in visual cortex by electrophysiological recording of single-unit activity in awake behaving macaque monkeys. Since 2009, she is a postdoctoral fellow at New York University, where she is using psychophysical methods with human observers to investigate influences of attention on visual perception.
Find out more at



Syed Mubarak Hussain (US West Coast Contact) – USA

I finished my Masters in Biochemistry from University of Kashmir, in Jammu and Kashmir, India. In a workshop entitled “Developmental neuroscience” I had my first (or important) exposure to neuroscience. There I met Veronica Rodrigues who I continued to work with at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. Here I began to pursue my interest in understanding the role of glial cells in Drosophila olfactory lobe development and function. For my PhD, I was the recipient of the Max Plank International Fellowship award. This allowed me to study gliogenesis in the laboratory of Christian Klaembt in Muenster, Germany. My work focused on identifying new Septate junction molecules in Sub-perineurial glial cells and studying their role in Blood Brain Barrier formation in Drosophila. Through the OIST Developmental Neurobiology course I met my current mentor, HHMI investigator Chris Doe at UO in Eugene. We are interested in understanding how larval Type II neuroblasts generate amazing diversity of neurons and glial cells in the adult fly brain. How these cells integrate into functional circuits in the central complex that modulates complex behaviors. Doe Lab


Daniel Daniel Münch (Lisbon contact/ IT) – Germany

I studied biology at the Free University of Berlin where I focused on honeybee neurobiology in the lab of Randolf Menzel. For my PhD, which I received in 2014, I moved to the lab of Giovanni Galizia at the University of Konstanz where I started to work on fruit fly olfaction. I am interested in how animals are able to encode myriads of different olfactory stimuli and how the brain is able to extract relevant information from a complex chemical environment where sometimes hundreds of odors are present together at a time. Therefore, I am maintaining and developing the Database of Odor Responses (DoOR) – a database that integrates and visualizes odor responses of Drosophila sensory neurons measured by labs around the world.
I am also interested in everything regarding openSource, openScience and openEducation and I love to juggle and visualize data with R.

You can find out more about my research on If you are on Twitter look for @Dahaniel!

Philipp Berens (Science Communications advisor) – Germany

Philipp studied Bioinformatics and Philosophy at University of Tuebingen. He obtained his PhD in Neuroscience from the International Max Planck Research School for Neural and Behavioral Sciences in Tuebingen for work done at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (Tuebingen) and Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX). He works as Postdoctoral researcher at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience and will be taking paternal leave soon.



Florian Schmidt-Amelung (Business Strategy Advisor) – Germany

After reading International Language, Cultural and Business Studies in Germany, China and Argentina Florian graduated in 2008 with his thesis on crowd knowledge. Florian is a member of the founding team of the German social games publisher Plinga GmbH where he currently acts as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to this engagement he has been working in management consulting and founded several business ventures reaching from high-tech trade to virtual mass customization.



Christian Baden (Communications advisor) – Germany

Christian studied political science, communication science (M.A.), and political economy (MSc) at Leipzig University and the London School of Economics. He received his PhD in communications at the University of Amsterdam in 2010. He currently works as Assistant Professor at the Chair for Strategic/Organizational Communication at the Department of Communication Science & Media Research, LMU Munich. His research focuses on the dynamic public construction of meaning in crises and conflict, informing social collective action and policy formulation



Juan Paredes Escobar (Kenya contact) – Kenya

Juan studied Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon in France where he carried out research on insect innate immunity. He did his PhD at the Swiss Institute of Technology (EPFL) in symbiont-host interactions. He studied the biology of a bacterial endosymbiont that protects its insect host against macroparasites. He is currently based in Africa at icipe in Nairobi and he is conducting research on symbionts and their potential use as probiotics to increase insect pollinators fitness.



Veronika Ostapcuk (Basel Equipment Contact) – Switzerland

Currently I am a doctoral student at the Friedrich Miescher Institute, University of Basel, where I am studying epigenetic regulation of gene expression in mouse embryonic stem cells. I obtained my BSc and MSc degrees in Biochemistry from Masaryk University in Czech Republic where I studied molecular mechanisms of transposon silencing and telomere length regulation in yeast S. cerevisiae.



Aled Jones (Bioinformatics Training Coordinator) – London

I graduated from my undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Loughborough University in 2007. I then worked in forensics for a year before completing an MSc in Medical Genetics at Newcastle University. Since then I have worked in diagnostic genetic laboratories, firstly as a Cytogenetic Technologist in the Genomic Diagnostic Laboratory in Manchester before moving to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust to undertake the NHS Scientist Training Program (STP) in Clinical Bioinformatics which I am due to complete in September 2016.

The STP is a three year program consisting of an MSc in Clinical Bioinformatics and work based learning designed to cover a broad range of areas including clinical interpretation of variants, creation and management of databases, programming and software design, and information governance (amongst others) in a clinical setting. A number of projects I have worked on have been based on the microarray service, improving the quality of analysis and reduced the cost in our preimplantation genetic diagnosis service.


Abubakar Bukar Kagu (Legal Adviser for Nigeria) – Nigeria

Kagu attended the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, where he obtained his first degree in Private Law in 2004. Afterwards, he went to the Nigerian Law School for his Bar Exams and was called to the Nigerian Bar as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 2006. He then went to Bayero University Kano for his Masters in Law. After graduation, Kagu joined A.S Nasir and Co. Law firms, Kano where he began a career as a Private Attorney. A year into private lawyering, he was appointed a Magistrate with the Yobe State Judiciary, Nigeria in 2009 where he worked and rose to the rank of a Senior Magistrate before moving on to the University of Sussex, United Kingdom in 2012 for his PhD in Criminal Justice and graduated from Sussex in 2016. He is currently with the Yobe State Judiciary, Nigeria, working as a Chief Magistrate.

Mustapha Shehu Muhammad (Gombe contact) – Nigeria

TReND Insect Neuroscience School alumni and member of TReND outreach team, working with Gombe State University, Nigeria. I obtained my B.Sc and M.Sc in Human Physiology in Ahmadu Bello University Nigeria with specific interest in Neuroscience. Currently undergoing PhD research in Alzheimer’s disease, looking at epigenetic modulation of cellular and neurobehavioural responses of mice to environmental stimuli in Alzheimer’s disease. Interested in understanding the influence of environmental cues on behaviour such as motor and cognitive functions deficits in Alzheimer’s diseases through cellular, oxidative stress and neuroinflammatory pathways involving Tau, Aβ, Nrf2/Keap-1 and NF-Kβ.

Thomas Auer (genome editing contact) – Switzerland

I am the contact for all genome editing related questions @ TReND. Currently I am a PostDoc in the lab of Richard Benton at University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

After having worked on cis-regulation in the teleost fish Medaka in the lab of Joachim Wittbrodt, Heidelberg, I was developing genome editing tools in Zebrafish during my joint PhD with Joachim Wittbrodt and Filippo Del Bene at the Institut Curie in Paris. With the help of these tools I studied the role of axonal transport in visual system development.
In April 2015 I moved to Lausanne to work on the genetic basis of olfactory circuit evolution in the lab of Richard Benton. Here I am establishing genome editing techniques and genetic tools in non-model Drosophilid species to study how genetic changes shape neural circuits and eventually lead to the emergence of new behavioral programs between closely related species.