The XXXVIII Annual Conference of the Indian Academy of Neurosciences (IAN), had been jointly organized by the Department of Animal Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad and the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Hyderabad from 4th-7th October 2020.

Every year a large number of neuroscientists from across the world, come together and contribute to the success of our annual meetings. This year, however, owing to the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was unable to hold in person as it was done traditionally. In view of existing travel restrictions and concern for the safety and well-being of our delegates, the Executive Committee had resolved to convene an e-conference this year.

The conference was held between 14.30 to 23.00 (IST) to encourage and welcome the participation of neuroscientists from different time zones.

The Conference participants comprised of Distinguished Scientists, experts, Ph.D. scholars, Post-Doctoral Fellows, postgraduate and undergraduate students from over 20 countries. It was really heartening to see symposiums in which speakers from UK, USA, Japan, Switzerland, Srilanka, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, USA, Denmark and India etc. delivering lectures back to back from the comfort of their own homes/offices. Because of the virtual nature of the conference, it was able to have many international speakers were add to the neuroscience feast. 4 poster presentations and 25 oral presentations.

Conference participants are comprise Distinguished Scientists Prof. P. N. Tondon, a Father figure in the field of Neurosciences, Founder President NBRC, Prof. VS Ramachandran, the Marco Polo of Neuroscience, an Outstanding Scientist well known in Neuroscience community globally from San diego, Prof. M K Thakur, Dean IAN, Prof. Vinay K Khanna, Secretary, HQ, IAN , Prof. Pankaj Seth, General Secretary, IAN and; Prof P. K. Seth, one of the Founder of IAN, NASI Sr. Scientist and Chairman, ILSI, India, Prof. Suresh Rattan, Univ of Arhus, Denmark and Prof William J Schwartz, University of Taxas and Prof. Russel Foster (University of Oxford), Prof. Pawan Sinha (University of Harward), Prof. BN Gangadhar (Director, NIMHANS) etc., and many eminent Neuroscientists and many eminent Neuroscience experts chaired the sessions and gave lectures from across the World, Colleagues, Ph.D. scholars, Post-Doctoral Fellows, postgraduate and undergraduate students from India, Srilanka, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, USA, Switzerland and Denmark etc.

Over 300 delegates participated in this neuroscience feast “Basic and Clinical Neurosciences: Bridging the Gaps” The sessions were organised as 1Keynote Lecture, 1 Distinguished lecture, 3 Plenary Lectures, Special orations such as BK bachhawat memorial lecture, 2 KT Shetty orations, 73 Symposia speakers in 15 Symposia, 10 Special Invited Talks, as well as Special Lecture on Techniques, 2Young Scientist Colloquia, 3 oral sessions, 2 Poster Sessions, Panel Discussions etc. The conference also had 44 poster presentations and 25 oral presentations to encourage young and budding neuroscientists. The various symposia were in areas such as Conditioning the Brain Against Ischemic Damage, Basic Neurosciences, Cytoskeletal and Membrane Adaptations in Neurons, Current Advancements in Research in COVID-19 and Brain, Understanding Neural Regulation of Circadian Biology: Health and Disease, Is Sleep Essential for Maintaining Optimal Networks for Neurocognition: Novel Evidences?, Nature and its Impact on Agingand Mental Health, Physical Activity and Nutrition In Enhancing Cognitive Strength And Immunity, Neurotoxicity and Neuroprotection: Emerging Trends and Approaches, Brain Health During Covid-19 Pandemic: Help from Herbs, Neuroprotective Effects of Estradiol, Neurodegeneration etc.

There were 2 Young scientist Colloquia 1. Tulsabai Somani Educational Trust Award and D.M. Kar Prize. There were 6 Awards for posters were 2 Suttee Nag Prizes and 2 Professor S.S. Parmar Research Foundation (USA) Award and 2 Poster Awards sponsored by Organising Secretariat also.

There were 2 panel discussions:

1. Interactive session on mind-body Medicine (For this Yoga gurus, Sri Sri Ravishankar, Art of Living and Dr Kamlesh Patel, Heartfulness Foundation gave remarks and addressed questions from law-makers, science communicators and IAN office bearers) Mr Vineet Joshi, President, Joshi Foundation.

2. Preparing for emerging challenges in neurosciences involving Eminent Neuroscientists and Panelists from Funding Agencies (Panelists: Subrata Sinha (NBRC, Manesar, India), Pankaj Seth (NBRC, Manesar &, Member DBT Neurotask force, India), Meenakshi Sharma (ICMR, India) Vandana Singh (DST, India), Manjari Tripathi (AIIMS, New Delhi & Member DBT Neurotask force), Shashi Bala Singh (NIPER, Hyderabad, India)
Special Symposia (IAN-EJN Joint Special Symposium on Mood disorders) sponsored by European Journal of Neuroscience and another (IANFAONS Symposium Understanding the Protective mechanisms in Neurodegenerative diseases) sponsored by Federation of Asian and Oceanic Neurosciences.
Keeping in mind the diverse backgrounds of attending delegates, the sessions had been planned to satisfy the scientific temperament of all the participants involved.

The opening Ceremony had Prof. Appa Rao Podile, Vice Chancellor, University of Hyderabad as Guest of Honour, Prof. P N Tondon, a Father figure in the field of Neurosciences, Founder President NBRC, as Chief guest of the function. The closing ceremony included Guest of honour, Dr. M. Gouri Devi (IHBAS, New Delhi, India) and Chief Guest, Dr. K.K. Deepak (AIIMS, New Delhi).

IAN acknowledged the infrastructure of the University of Hyderabad especially with uninterrupted power supply and internet connectivity throughout. The 3 parallel sessions and common sessions went smoothly surprising the global scientists in Covid-19 Pandemic times and making this meeting IAN-2020 a historical event in Neuroscience.
Dr. Anita Jagota, Professor & Head, Department of Animal Biology, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad & Dr. Shashi Bala Singh, Director, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Hyderabad were the Organizing Secretariat for the Conference.

The Organisers acknowledge financial assistance from University of Hyderabad, Institution of Eminence (IoE); National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) Hyderabad; Indian Academy of Neurosciences (IAN) & European Journal of Neuroscience (EJN).

Contributed by Dr. Anita Jagota