AREADNE 2020 Logo   AREADNE 2020
Research in Encoding And Decoding of
Neural Ensembles

Nomikos Conference Centre
Santorini, Greece
16-20 June 2020
  AREADNE Brain Labyrinth Logo


➢ Poster notifications have all been sent. If you have not received a notification, please email us at, and be sure to add our address to your contact list.

➢ COVID-19 status: with two months to go until AREADNE 2020, we are avoiding overreactions and continuing to plan the meeting as usual. We anticipate a calm, rational assessment and update in mid-to-late April. For now, we would suggest avoiding bookings that are non-refundable.

➢ Technical issues with our new payment system are being resolved, but at a pace that is somewhat slower than expected due to pandemic-related distractions. That said, we have also decided to wait to open registration until we have a firmer footing on the meeting as mentioned above. For anyone who is not a presenter of an accepted poster, please note that when registration opens, it will be only for a spot on the waiting list. Add yourself to the Google group to be notified when registration opens. Again, thank you for your patience.

➢ AREADNE 2020 will be Tuesday to Saturday, 16-20 June 2020, starting Tuesday evening with a Welcome Reception. This schedule is a day earlier in the week than previous meetings.

Site Overview

Introduction (scroll down)
Important Dates
Call for Abstracts
Poster Information
Travel Information
Hotel Information
Shared Housing Listings
Practical Information
Restaurant Information
Additional Activities
Frequently Asked Questions
Scholarships and Resources for Travel Grants
Archives of Previous Meetings
Google Group for Official Announcements
Contact the Conference Organizers


One of the fundamental problems in neuroscience is to understand how the activation of ensembles of neurons gives rise to the higher order functions of the brain including learning, memory, cognition, perception, action and ultimately conscious awareness. Electrophysiological recordings in behaving animals over the past fifty years have revealed considerable information about what the firing patterns of single neurons encode in isolation, but it remains largely a mystery how collections of neurons interact to perform these functions.

Cactus and Caldera Recent technological advances have provided new glimpses into the global functioning of the brain. These technologies include multi-microelectrode array electrophysiology, optical imaging and stimulation, functional magnetic resonance imaging, high-density electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography, and genetic manipulation. These technologies have expanded our knowledge of brain functioning beyond the single neuron level into the realm of ensembles.

At the same time, our understanding of how neuronal ensembles carry information has allowed the development of brain-machine interfaces (BMI) to enhance the capabilities of patients with sensory or motor deficits. Knowledge of how neuronal ensembles encode sensory stimuli has made it possible to develop perceptual BMIs for the hearing and visually impaired. Likewise, research in how neuronal ensembles decode motor intentions has resulted in motor BMIs by which people with severe motor disabilities can control external devices.

Conference Mission Statement

There are three major goals of the AREADNE Conferences. First and foremost, the meetings are intended to gather global scientific leaders who work on neural ensembles and create a touch-point for a widely disparate and hybrid field. Second, with a spectacular setting on Santorini, the conferences have been carefully planned to foster discussion and interaction between attendees to encourage the establishment of lasting professional relationships. Third, these meetings continue our efforts to promote systems neuroscience in Greece through creating a world-class forum for cutting-edge research.

Conference Location and Organization

Nomikos Entrance The 2020 conference will take place on the Greek island of Santorini from Tuesady through Saturday, 16-20 June 2020, starting with an informal Welcome Reception the evening of Tuesday, 16 June 2020 -- this schedule is a day earlier in the week than previous meetings. The conference will be at the Petros M. Nomikos Conference Centre in the town of Firá (see photo to the right). The conference will be single-track. Morning talks will be followed by a working lunch. After an afternoon break, participants will reconvene for early evening talks and poster presentations, ending in time for late dinner in accordance with local customs. Although delegates arrive from around the world, AREADNE speakers are selected primarily from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.

Submission of Poster Abstracts

We anticipate being oversubscribed for 2020 as in previous years, and so strongly encourage anyone who is considering attending the conference to submit a poster abstract. Accepted posters will have one registration reserved for the presenter. Other registration spots will be on a first come first served basis. We are typically able to accommodate only an exceedingly small number of delegates who are not a designated poster presenter.

Abstract submission has closed. All notifications have been sent by email to the corresponding author.

Registration and Fees

Arches Conference fees will be finalized shortly before registration opens, but are anticipated to be USD 450 for students, USD 650 for post-docs, USD 850 for faculty members or professionals, and USD 1250 for on-site registrants, space permitting. On-site fees are considered full price; the other levels are discounted thanks to the generosity of our sponsors. Registration fees are payable in USD by credit card. While we will endeavor to keep registration fees as stated here, they are subject to change without notice until registration has opened.

Registration fees cover coffee breaks, hot lunches, the Welcome Reception, the Gala Banquet, and an optional excursion. Attendance will be strictly limited by the capacity of the conference center. Registration is separate from proposal submission. Once registration has filled, a waiting list is established; at previous meetings, only a few people on the waiting list were eventually offered a registration spot. If the conference is full, on-site registrations will not be accepted.

Refund Policy. If you have registered but will be unable to attend, a full refund of the paid fees will be given until 19 May 2020, a 50% refund will be given from then until 2 June 2020, and no refund will be given after 2 June 2020.

Registration has not yet opened, and will be delayed approximately one week, to 1 May 2020 (subject to change). To be sent an email reminder when registration opens, please add yourself to the Google Group for Official AREADNE Announcements. In previous years, we have sold out just with presenters of submitted abstracts prior to the official opening of registration; in these cases, when we open registration, delegates who are not poster presenters are offered a spot on the waiting list.

Important Dates

AREADNE 2020 will be Tuesday to Saturday, 16-20 June 2020, starting Tuesday evening with a Welcome Reception. This schedule is a day earlier in the week than previous meetings.

2020-01-06  Abstract submissions open
2020-01-24  Abstract submissions close
2020-02-24  Abstract notifications sent (delayed 3 days)
2020-05-01)  Registration opens (subject to change)
2020-05-26  Registration closes
2020-06-15  Suggested arrival date for intercontinental travelers
2020-06-16  Conference Welcome Reception (late PM)
2020-06-17  Conference opens (early AM)
2020-06-20  Conference closes (late PM)
2020-06-20  Conference Gala Banquet (late PM)
2020-06-21  Suggested departure date

Attendees should plan to arrive in Santorini by 16 June 2020 (or the day before, especially for intercontinental travelers), and depart on or after 21 June 2020.


Many hotels are available in and around Firá and Firostefani, from inexpensive C class / two-star hotels to luxury A class / four-star caldera-view cave suites. The conference center is located 15 minutes by foot from the center of Firá, and a similar distance from much of Firostefani. We encourage conference attendees to follow the lead of the organizing committee, and stay in hotels that are walking distance from the Centre. Plan to arrive by Tuesday, 16 June 2020 if coming from Europe or Monday, 15 June 2020 if traveling intercontinentally, and depart Sunday, 21 June 2020.

We suggest booking your hotel room as early as possible.


Blue Urns Daily coffee breaks, lunches, and a Welcome Reception will be provided at the conference center. Working lunches will be provided on three of the four days. A Gala Banquet will be held at a local restaurant on the final day of the conference. These meals are included in the conference package for participants; guests are welcomed to the Welcome Reception, and additional tickets are available for purchase to bring guests to the Gala Banquet (tickets available only during on-line registration).

Breakfasts are typically included in hotel rates, or available with bookings for a nominal charge, and are thus not provided at the conference center. There is a wide selection of nearby restaurants for evening meals, and we anticipate making loosely organized excursions to different restaurants each evening, except the last when we have the banquet.

Restaurant recommendations are available.

Activities on the island

In addition to sweeping vistas, Santorini boasts excellent nightlife, a respectable wine industry, beaches with white, black, or red sand, excavations of ancient civilizations, and magnificent sunsets. More information can be found in various travel guides, or on the Web. Good places to start are publications like The Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide guides for Greece, and web sites like Greek Travel Santorini, Santorini Island, and Travel to Santorini.

We are planning optional guided excursions to the archaeological site of Akrotiri and to Nea Kameni, the volcano island at the center of the caldera. These events may not be able to accommodate everyone.

Additional suggested activities are available.


Frames Air transportation to Athens International Airport (ATH) is available through nearly all of the major international airlines, many of the newer discount companies, and numerous charter companies. Air transport from Athens to Santorini (JTR) takes less than an hour and is available multiple times per day. It is usually possible to arrange flight schedules so that overnight stays in Athens are not required when connecting to and from Santorini.

Sea passage from Athens to Santorini can be a relaxing experience and is recommended for the awe-inspiring approach to the port at the base of the immense caldera cliffs. Ferries for Santorini leave from the port of Piraeus, one hour's taxi drive away from the Athens airport, and from the town of Rafina, about 25 minutes by taxi from the airport in the other direction. Rail and express bus transportation are also available from the airport to the ferries in Piraeus.

Getting around on the island can be done by bus and taxi. Cars and mopeds are readily available for hire. The conference center is located in the town of Firá, and is walking distance to many hotels and restaurants, so having a motorized vehicle is not required.

More transportation information is available here.

Visa Requirements

European citizens have free Schengen access to Greece. Post-Brexit, UK citizens have visa-free travel to the Schengen zone (supported by a UK passport) for 90 days out of 180 for 2020. United States citizens traveling on regular passports (excluding diplomatic and governmental passports) do not require visas for stays shorter than 90 days. Citizens of other countries will need to contact their home governments to determine visa requirements. We are happy to assist with visa letters for registered attendees.


Sail Shade The schedule for the four-day conference follows the Greek lifestyle of having a long lunch, afternoons free for siestas or swimming, and a late dinner. To encourage participants to stay for the entire event, the detailed speaker and poster schedule will not be available until the start of the conference, even to the speakers and poster presenters. Unlike previous meetings, our schedule for AREADNE 2020 spans Tuesday to Saturday.

All attendees should plan a stay that includes arrival on Santorini no later than Monday, 15 June 2020 for intercontinental travelers or Tuesday, 16 June 2020 for those coming from Europe, and departure no earlier than the following Sunday, 21 June 2020.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020
19:30-22:00   Welcome Reception (wine and cheese) and Registration

Wednesday, 17 June 2020
08:00-08:30   Registration
08:30-12:30   Lectures and coffee break
12:30-14:00   Lunch
17:00-21:30   Lectures, coffee break, and poster session

Thursday, 18 June 2020
09:00-12:30   Lectures and coffee break
12:30-14:00   Lunch
17:00-21:30   Lectures, coffee break, and poster session

Friday, 19 June 2020
09:00-13:00   Optional archaeological and geological excursions
17:00-21:30   Lectures, coffee break, and poster session

Saturday, 20 June 2020
09:00-12:30   Lectures and coffee break
12:30-14:00   Lunch
17:00-19:30   Lectures and coffee break
21:00-24:00   Gala Banquet (full dinner)

By long-standing policy we do not release the detailed speaker or poster schedule before the start of the conference. (Why not?)

Confirmed Speakers

Our speakers include global luminaries in the field of Computational Neuroscience. We hope that you will enjoy hearing them speak and will participate with them in the after-talk discussions. In alphabetical order by last name, our confirmed speakers are,

Claudia Clopath  Imperial College
Rui Costa  Columbia University
Jim DiCarlo  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Laura Colgin University of Texas, Austin
Christine Constantinople  New York University
Ila Fiete  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stefano Fusi  Columbia University
Adam Hantman  Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus
Betty Hong  California Institute of Technology
Matt Kaufman  University of Chicago
Georg Keller  Friederich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research
Roozbeh Kiani  New York University
Carlos Lois  California Institute of Technology
Vassiliki Nikoletopoulou  Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Clay Reid  Allen Institute for Brain Science
John Reynolds  Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Blake Richards  University of Toronto
Cristina Savin  New York University
Mark Sheffield  University of Chicago
Stefan Treue  German Primate Center
Nachum Ulanovsky  Weizman Institute


In addition to our expert speakers, we have an august list of session moderators to keep the discussions lively and interesting.

Ziv Williams  Harvard Medical School
Stephanie Palmer  University of Chicago
Leslie Osborne  Duke University
Barry Richmond  NIH / National Institute of Mental Health
Irini Skaliora  Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens

Organizing Committee

John Pezaris, Co-Chair  Harvard Medical School
Nicholas Hatsopoulos, Co-Chair  University of Chicago
Yiota Poirazi  Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas
Andreas Tolias  Baylor College of Medicine
Dora Angelaki  New York University
Thanos Siapas  California Institute of Technology
Kenny Blum  Harvard University

The Myth of Ariadne

Olives on Tree We take the conference name AREADNE from the subtitle, Research in Encoding And Decoding of Neural Ensembles, combined with the name of the mythological figure Ariadne.

Theseus, an Athenian hero, journeyed to Crete to slay the Minotaur, a half-bull, half-human creature. King Minos of Crete kept the Minotaur at the center of a large maze he built, known as the Labyrinth.

Minos' daughter Ariadne, after whom we've named the conference, gave Theseus a sword and a ball of silk thread, both of which had been given to her by Daedalus, designer of the labyrinth. Theseus tied one end of the thread at the entrance, unwinding the rest as he navigated the Labyrinth, so that after slaying the Minotaur, he could easily escape by following the thread back out.

Practical Information

We have assembled a body of practical information to guide planning for attending an AREADNE Conference.

Και τα λοιπά (Et Cetera)

AREADNE 2020 will be Tuesday to Saturday, 16-20 June 2020, starting Tuesday evening with a Welcome Reception. This schedule is a day earlier in the week than previous meetings.

The language of presentation for AREADNE Conferences is English.

To be sent important email announcements about AREADNE 2020, please add yourself to the Google Group for Official AREADNE Announcements.

Internet access will be provided at the Nomikos Conference Centre only to a limited extent. This is a conscious decision to encourage attendees to participate in the conference rather than to be distracted by email and the Web. Internet cafes are readily available in Firá for emergencies and extended access. The response from attendees on this policy was overwhelmingly positive at all of our previous conferences.

Abstracts of all presentations will be published in the conference book that is provided to attendees during registration, and available as a downloadable PDF after the meeting. Copies from previous meetings are available on our archives page.

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions.

For additional information on other conference-related topics, please contact the Organizing Committee Co-Chairs, John Pezaris and Nicholas Hatsopoulos, at

Photographs on this site were taken on Santorini 2005-2019 by John Pezaris (except the satellite view published by NASA), to display the magnificence and austere beauty of the island. Click on any of them to view a larger version (and use the BACK button on your browser to return to the previous page). Images are copyrighted by the artist and are used by The AREADNE Foundation with permission.

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