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Genes, Brain and Behaviour Meeting 2023

On the 23rd May, we had the exciting opportunity to introduce the Circadian Mental Health Network to the attendees of the Genes, Brain and Behaviour meeting. This meeting is annual meeting for the International Brain and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS), and was hosted in beautiful Galway.

This meeting had an entire symposium dedicated to circadian rhythms in mental health conditions, as well as other talks associated with sleep and circadian rhythms in neurodevelopmental conditions presented throughout the event. The symposium included talks from Circadian Mental Health Network team member, Lorna Lopez and myself (Network Scientific Coordinator, Amy).

List of speakers involved in IBANGS symposium
IBANGS Symposium

During the symposium, we heard talks from researchers at many different career stages, from PhD student to Professor, and the symposium was organised and chaired by Laura Fahey, a post-doc working with Lorna. It was great to have such a strong representation of early career researchers in this symposium. There were talks focused on sleep in neurodevelopmental disorders, including ADHD and autism, and gene transcription research using skin samples provided by patients with bipolar disorder. The attendees were also introduced to the Network by myself, part of my talk highlighted our main objectives and described all the ways everyone could get involved with our Network. I was also fortunate enough to present some of my own research, investigating the relationship between variation in core circadian clock genes and mood disorders.

Circadian rhythms/sleep and mental health speakers outside the IBANGS meeting
Circadian rhythms/sleep and mental health speakers

There was a lot of enthusiasm from the attendees about all the research happening in sleep and circadian science and mental health. With many of the attendees eager to hear more about our Network activities and to get involved.

A recurring theme throughout the meeting was the importance of co-producing research with individuals with lived experience, and sharing our findings and research openly. This was demonstrated very clearly with a showing of "Feats of Modest Valour" - which was created in collaboration with people living with Parkinson's disease - and a follow-up panel discussion including individuals with lived experience, clinicians and researchers.

Of course, the trip would not have been complete without exploring the beautiful town of Galway, experiencing the vibrant street entertainment and good food. Thank you IBANGS and University of Galway for hosting such an interesting and engaging conference.

Fish and chips

Scenic view from Galway coast
Photo by: Mark Rutledge-Gorman

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