Published: 22-06-2022 16:34 | Updated: 23-06-2022 11:31

The 2022 StratNeuro Retreat

team performing outdoor activity as part of a checkpoint challenge
StratNeuro PhD Retreat 2022 and one of the teams at checkpoint challenge. Photo: Sara Coppi

On 18-20 May 18 2022 we were excited to finally host the annual StratNeuro retreat at Runö in Åkersberga. This year's retreat was somewhat special. Many were eager to meet again, and the organisers worked hard to make this meeting a productive and memorable one.

We welcomed approximately 250 participants from across 15 departments and 11 core facilities at Karolinska Institutet (KI), as well as departments from Umeå University (UmU) and The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

New iniative

A new initiative this year was to dedicate one day exclusively to the PhD students in StratNeuro, and this was held on the day before the main event, on 18 May 2022.

group picture of participants at the StratNeuro PhD Retreat 2022
Group photo on the 2022 StratNeuro PhD student retreat, 18 May 2022. Photo: Johanna Mayer

The PhD student retreat programme offered workshops on visual storytelling and science communication and ended with a session focused on career skills, including a Q&A with a panel of researchers and industry representatives.

The social program included a pub quiz, a live music performance by Promenad Orquestern, and an outdoor activity, where students formed teams competing to collect as many checkpoints as possible around the area, by answering questions and creative photo tasks.

Collage of pictures of the StratNeuro PhD student Retrat
2022 StratNeuro PhD student retreat. Upper left: career session; lower left: Promenad Orquestern, middle: winning team of the checkpoint challenge; right: one of the teams during the checkpoint challenge. Photo: Vasco Souza,Johanna Mayer,Sara Coppi

For the main retreat event, which took place between 19-20th May 2022, we hosted four international keynote speakers. We were honored to host Uğur Şahin, BioNTech & University Medical Center Mainz, Germany; Gaia Tavosanis, U. Bonn, Germany; David Nutt, Imperial College London, UK and Megan R. Carey, Champalimaud Center for the Unknown, Portugal. 


group picture StratNeuro Retreat 2022
Group photo on the 2022 StratNeuro retreat on 19 May 2022. Photo: Vasco Souza

Among the 4 plenary sessions and 4 parallel break-out sessions, lectures covered a wide range of neuroscience topics in StratNeuro from the different departments and institutions at KI, KTH and UmU.

group picture, collage, best picture award
2022 StratNeuro retreat. Middle: Uğur Şahin; Upper left to right: Megan Carey, Johan Lundberg introducing one of the break-out sessions; David Nutt. Lower left to right: Gaia Tavosanis, the conference hall audience, networking at the poster session. Photo: Vasco Souza

We were excited to learn more about the role of KI in the European University of Brain and Technology – NeurotechEU - from Joana Pereira, the scientific coordinator at KI for the alliance, who presented an overview of what the European university alliance means for KI and the research, education and funding opportunities.

The keynote speaker Professor Tavosanis from the University of Bonn, a NeurotechEU partner, was invited as a research representative.

In the poster blitz session, 10 of the participants gave the audience fun and creative presentations summarizing their posters in 2 minutes or less. The audience was then able to vote for the best blitz presentation in each category: pre-clinical and clinical/translational.

The poster session was a major highlight. Approximately 140 research posters were presented, as well as 11 posters from some of the core facilities and infrastructures which serve the neuroscience community.

Our poster evaluator panel: Sara Wilson (UMU), Federico Iovino (KI), Christian Göritz (KI), and Tobias Granberg (KI) did a marathon of poster readings and picked the best poster in each category.

The meeting ended with the prize winner announcements. We thank the poster evaluators for their valuable contribution and we congratulate the 2022 prize winners.


award winners.
Prize winners, 2022 StratNeuro retreat. Upper left to right: Best pre-clinical poster by Wei Li; Best clinical/translational poster by Kristoffer Månsson. Lower left to right: Best pre-clinical poster blitz by Marina Slashcheva; Best clinical/translational poster blitz by Nona Rajabi. Photo: Konstantinos Meletis

Best poster, Pre-clinical category: A9

"Characterisation of submucosal neuron classes in the mouse small intestine", by Wei Li (KI).

Motivation: "Extremely fascinating and new topic, gut-brain interplay and identification of a new set of neurons in the intestine. Poster structure: very clear and easy to follow, results divided in three sections based on specific aims, self explanatory figures."

Best poster, Clinical/Translational category: G2

"Moment-to-moment brain signal variability reliably predicts psychiatric treatment outcome", by Kristoffer Månsson (KI).

Motivation: "This work shows convincingly that current practices on fMRI postprocessing actually removes a lot of biological meaningful data that has predictive clinical value. It may affect how we setup and analyze fMRI data to increase our ability to capture pathology."

Best Blitz, Pre-clinical category: J12

"Mapping of brainwide and cell type specific projections of the mouse prefrontal cortex", by Marina Slashcheva (KI).

Best Blitz, Clinical/Translational category: J3

"Searching for Imagined Visual Content Using a Closed-Loop Brain Computer Interface", by Nona Rajabi (KTH).

Best picture for StratNeuro Retreat 2022

"Microglia (green and red) surrounded by infiltrated macrophages (green) in mouse hippocampus. Markers: Iba-1 (green), Tmem119 (red) and Hoechst (blue)", Alejandro Lastra Romero (KI):

group picture, collage, best picture award
To the left: winner of the "StratNeuro picture of the year 2022", Alejandro Lastra Romero (photo by Konstantinos Meletis). To the right: picture by Alejandro Lastra Romero: Microglia (green and red) surrounded by infiltrated macrophages (green) in mouse hippocampus. Markers: Iba-1 (green), Tmem119 (red) and Hoechst (blue). Photo: Konstantinos Meletis

”Runner-up” for Best Picture

"Neurons in love. Zeiss LSM700, 20x magnification. Green: MAP2, Red: CASK, Blue: Hoechst", by Francesca Mastropasqua (KI).

We hope to see you at the 2023 event! We will announce the date and location soon.

best picture award
StratNeuro picture of the year 2022. Left: runner-up Francesca Mastropasqua (photo: Konstantinos Meletis). Right: picture by Francesca Mastropasqua: Neurons in love. Zeiss LSM700, 20x magnification. Green: MAP2, Red: CASK, Blue: Hoechst. Photo: Konstantinos Meletis

The 2022 retreat was funded by StratNeuro, with co-funding from the doctoral programme in neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet (towards the PhD student retreat day).

PhD student event 18 June

The PhD student event was organized by Johanna Mayer, Sara Coppi, Anna Canal Garcia, Konstantinos Ampatzis and Vasco Sousa. (Besides being PhD students, Johanna and Sara are representatives to the steering group of the doctoral program in neuroscience, and Anna is a representative at the NVS department’s doctoral student council).

Main event 19-20 June

The main retreat event was organized by Gilad Silberberg, Gonçalo Castelo-Branco, Karin Jensen, Ulrika Marklund and Vasco Sousa.