BrainPET2019-Congress in Yokohama, Japan (4th - 7th July 2019)

One of the MD-Pro doctoral candidates of the IFB AdiposityDiseases, Tilmann Günnewig visited the BrainPET2019-Congress in Japan and wrote about his experience and the highlights of the congress program.

Tilmann Günnewig presenting his research poster
Port of Yokohama and Congress Center Pacifico Yokohama (2nd building to the right, next to the elliptic-shaped complex)

As part of my MD_Pro 1 fellowship, I could visit the BrainPET2019 Congress in Yokohama, Japan. To present our findings in the ongoing IFB-project, I held a scientific poster presentation illustrating our advances in the examination of cholinergic neuromodulation in disinhibited eating behavior.

The BrainPET2019 is the 29th International Symposium on Cerebral Blood Flow, Metabolism and Function & The 14th International Conference on Quantification of Brain Function with PET. In the following I will report about highlights of the aforementioned symposium.

The scientific program started on Friday. Having received the first scheduled poster session time, I had the opportunity to be the first to present their scientific poster at the congress. The poster session itself was an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences with other researchers from the US (University of Yale), Sweden (University of Lund) and Denmark (Neurobiological Research Unit, Copenhagen), whose focus among others also lies on obesity research, behavioral effects of nicotine in neuroimaging studies, or combined PET/fMRI studies.

For PET/MRI aficionados: The ISCBFM (International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism) has recently established a PET/MRI interest group serving as a centralized network to promote research and educational activities on hybrid PET/MRI (https://www.iscbfm.org/pet-mri-sig).

One highlight of Day 1 was an interesting talk of. K. Koehler-Forsberg from the Neurobiology Research Unit (NRU), Copenhagen, about patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) that have lower cerebral HT-4-Receptor PET binding than healthy controls. Koehler-Forsberg emphasized the importance of stratification and individualized therapy approaches treating patients suffering from MDD.

On the next day, current advances in investigation of cerebral bloodflow and metabolism were elaborated, honoring the legacy of Richard J. Traystman and his numerous seminal contributions to the field. Here, P. Herscovitch, putting it in a historical context, demonstrated the current advances in Neuroimaging with PET and J. Boltze, former student of the University of Leipzig and now Professor at the University of Warwick, illustrated the latest research results in the field of Neuroprotection. He pointed out to excellent findings in stroke therapy in rodent research but also hints to the partial lack of translational opportunities to apply these findings in clinical studies.

In the subsequent session, A. Evans from McGill University, Montreal, talked about the BigBrainAtlas, a freely accessible high-resolution 3D digital atlas of the human brain, which has been approached within a collaborative research project with the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Jülich, Germany. The Atlas points out to future directions in cytoarchitectural mapping as its resolution is much finer than many other well-established tools.

To conclude, the BrainPET2019 Congress was a success and the insight of current findings in various fields of neuroscience research motivate me to optimistically continue with the ongoing IFB-project. The opportunity to explore some of the Japanese culture after the congress, was also unique and filled with several long-lasting impressions.

Tilman Günnewig (MD_Pro 1)