The European Society for Neurochemistry, jointly with the Biochemical Society, recently hosted a meeting in Bath, UK on Advances in Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Neurological Disorders. Over 250 basic scientists, industry researchers and clinicians met to discuss the latest developments in this fast-moving area of research, presented by world leaders in their fields. We are confident that the scientific legacy of the meeting will appear, over time, through research publications as a result of productive collaborations established at the meeting.

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Whilst the science was the purpose and drive for the conference, the organizers were also mindful of the words of John Martin, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at University College London that ‘Life depends on Science but the Arts make it worth living.’ Therefore, an additional legacy of the meeting appears here, in the form of a specially commissioned poem, written by the 12th Bard of Bath, Thomasin Gillow who performed it for the first time at the conference banquet. Thommie's personal view of neurochemistry created a synergy between literature and science that was highly appreciated, and we are pleased to be able to publish her poem so it can be enjoyed more widely.

Marcus Rattray, Robert Williams and Jörg Schulz

When the Poet met up with the Neurologist

Thomasin Gillow

  • When the poet met up with the neurologist
  • the first thing she said was this,
  • how is it?
  • that my brain,
  • with all the wonderful things it is,
  • has not yet learnt to kiss?
  • How is it that I cannot open my head,
  • and take the thread
  • of my thoughts
  • and tie them to yours,
  • intertwine us together,
  • make you mine again, forever?
  • To me your words taste like wishes,
  • dropped deep into a well
  • clinking like fishes
  • echoing
  • bellowing
  • yellowing in the canals of my mind.
  • To me your neck smells of promises and fear,
  • and if I could open my skull to you
  • you would see electricity through my glia,
  • bolts and lightning strikes on fire
  • through my glia.
  • and each word that passes your lips
  • you would see my dopamine levels get higher and higher and higher
  • and then you would see them dip.
  • If my brain could hold yours it would hold yours
  • in hands as big as arm chairs,
  • as big as hippos
  • for all that it thinks it knows
  • only with your brain could mine ever really smell a rose.
  • Rip open my skull
  • and my brain will wave at you,
  • it will spill down my spine in its longing for you
  • reaching out efferent fibres, limbic desire
  • Crawl through memories that crown us,
  • through memories that drown us,
  • through memories we side step lest they indelibly stamp us,
  • Rip open my skull
  • and you will see my hippocampus
  • flushed with you.
  • It has been too long neurologist
  • and my poetry has turned my brain from matter into smoke.
  • You once said my love was a joke,
  • a biochemical reaction
  • so each time we had sex
  • I tried to open my cortex to you
  • so you could see each hemisphere glow
  • and know
  • that my love was true,
  • but it was more than I could do.
  • When the poet met up with the neurologist
  • the first thing she said was this,
  • how is it? I ask you why,
  • that my brain,
  • with all the wonderful things it is,
  • it has not yet learnt to kiss
  • goodbye?

ISN-ASN Biennial Meeting, Cancun, April 2013

Information and photos of the ISN-ASN Biennial Meeting held in Cancun, 20-24 April 2013, can be found on

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Monica Carson

Associate Professor,

Division of Biomedical Sciences

Director Center for Glial-Neuronal Interactions

University of California, Riverside

900 University Ave

Riverside, CA 92521-0121

Tel: 951-827-2584

Fax: 951-827-5504