Scientific Highlights

The WFSBP is proud to welcome the following plenary speakers at the congress in Vancouver:

Elizabeth Blackburn, USA
Nobel Laureate
Telomeres: What they do – and don’t – tell us

Elizabeth Blackburn’s presentation will describe how accumulated data indicate that loss of telomere protection is both linked to and, in some cases, causally contributes to, human aging and aging-related diseases. These include cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, inflammatory diseases, dementias, diabetes and certain cancers. Influences on human telomere maintenance (often measured in the surrogate form of bulk shortening of telomeres), are only partially genetic. Such Influences also prominently include psychological and life circumstance inputs: notably, severity and durations of chronic stress and depression are quantifiably associated with less robust telomere maintenance. 

Human telomerase activity and telomere maintenance present delicate balancing acts throughout human life. Hence, it is too simplistic and even dangerous to suggest that simply extending telomere length will invariably extend healthspan. This presentation will address the interconnected nature of disease mechanisms, and the potential of manipulating one mechanism to positively or negatively impact other mechanisms. Further understanding of human telomere protection, and its molecular and environmental influences, is anticipated to lead to application for disease treatment and interception.

Leroy Hood, USA (Opening Lecture)
Systems biology and its application to precision medicine in psychiatry

George Koob, USA
Neurobiology of addiction: the gain in the brain is in the pain

Brenda Penninx,The Netherlands
Immunometabolic depression: Ready for personalized medicine?


The following debates are scheduled:

Gut microbes: future of psychopharmacology revolution
Proponent: Ted Dinan, Ireland
Opponent: Emeran Mayer, USA


Bipolar II disorder is a myth
Proponent: Gin Malhi, Australia
Opponent: Andrew Alan Nierenberg, USA


Cannabis legalization
Proponent: Michael Krausz, Canada
Opponent: Deepak Cyril D´Souza, USA


Scientific Contents

The theme of the congress “Neuroscience Discoveries and Translation to Clinical Practice” was chosen to address two major challenges plaguing the field of mental health i.e. slow progress in new  discoveries and barriers to evidence based application of new discoveries in day to day clinical practice to improve patient care.

The congress will be structured to include a neuroscience discovery track and a clinical track. In each track a wide range of sessions will be offered, comprising 

  • an Opening Lecture
  • Plenary Lectures
  • Debates
  • Symposia
  • Workshops
  • WFSBP Task Force Symposia
  • WFSBP Task Force Workshops

as well as

  • Educational Grant Sessions
  • Free Communications
  • Guided Poster Tours

Read more about topics and browse session formats.