Vice-President, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Director, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Tamás F. Freund is a Professor and Director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Chairman of the Neuroscience Department of the Péter Pázmány Catholic University in Budapest. He graduated as a biologist at the Eotvos University in Budapest, worked as a student researcher at the Department of Anatomy, Semmelweis Medical School, Budapest, and spent a total of 4 years in Oxford in the Department of Pharmacology. He became head of department (1990), then deputy director (1993), and director (2002) of the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest. He has been president of the Federation of European Neuroscience Soceities (FENS) from 2004 till 2006, and served as Chairman of the IBRO Central and Eastern Europe Regional Committee (1999-2003). He is section editor of 2 major international journals, and editorial board member of six others. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1998, vicepresident since 2014), the Academia Europaea (London, 2000), the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2001), the Academia Scientiarum et Artium Europaea (2001), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014). The major awards he received include: the Demuth Award (Switzerland, 1991), the KRIEG Cortical Discoverer Award and the Cajal Medal (1998, U.S.A.), the Kemali Award (1998), the Bolyai Prize (2000, Hungary), the Széchenyi Prize, (2005), Scientist of the Year Award of the Science Writers Club of Hungary (2007), tSemmelweis Award (2007), Pro Doctorandis Award (2009), and the Brain Prize (2011, Denmark).

His main scientific interest is the functional architecture and physiology of neuronal circuits in the cerebral cortex, the network basis of behaviour-dependent activity patterns in the hippocampus, the changes in neuronal connectivity/chemical architecture underlying addiction or epileptic and ischemic brain damage, the mechanisms of endocannabinoid signaling and its relationship with anxiety.


17:00-18:30 5 NOVEMBER
thematic SESSION i.B: mapping the brain, unlocking the mind

Discovery research in the field of brain disorders: the greatest demand in medicine in the 21st century

Brain disorders represent an enormous burden on society in terms of human suffering and economic cost. These challenges require coordinated actions of political, industrial and academic decision makers. Brain-related disorders are expected to affect at least one in three persons during their lifetime, costing some €800 billion every year in Europe. The cost is comparable to that of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes put together. As society ages, these numbers will increase further. Return on investment in brain research far exceeds the return from any other branch of science.  Brain research is already considered high priority is many countries as evidenced by recently established national and regional programs:  
1) The EU-funded Human Brain Project, established in 2013, overarches neuroscience and ICT, with the aim to model human brain, better understand brain disorders, and develop new therapies and technologies. Its total costs are €1.19 billion for a 10 year period.
2) The US BRAIN Initiative, announced in 2013, aims to map the activity of every single neuron type or area in the human brain. Its initial budget was $110 million.
3) The Hungarian Brain Research Program, initiated by the government in 2012, and launched in 2014, aims to support brain research projects in which Hungary has significant local expertise or traditions, and which are of considerable scientific, clinical or societal importance. By its 39 million euro, the HBRP also tries to reverse “brain-drain”.  This program has been built upon the notion that progress can be expected only if new discoveries about disease mechanisms are made, which pave the way to the development of better pharmacothearpies and/or prevention strategies.  An example will be taken from the discovery of the role of CNS endocannabinoids in neuronal signaling that may lead to the development  of better anxiolityc drugs.