ISAE 2016

11th International Symposium on Avian Endocrinology (ISAE2016) held at the White Oaks Conference Resort in Niagara-on-the-Lake , October 11-14, 2016. ISAE is an event which takes place every four years in a rotation system between Asia, Europe, and America, and is dedicated to showcase up-to-date advancements in the field of avian endocrinology, while bringing together scientists from all over the world. With a combination of plenary lectures, symposia, and poster sessions, ISAE2016 is the ideal venue to meet other scientists and exchange information on a wide range of avian species. Topics discussed include, endocrinology of behaviour, endocrine disruptors, neuro-endocrine control of reproduction, feeding and metabolism, circadian rhythms and clock genes.

The IAP consortium decided to actively participate in this meeting on different levels:

IAP SYMPOSIUM, supported by BELSO: Hormones and neuroplasticity: image guided discoveries of molecular mechanisms in neuroplasticity.

A Whole symposium was dedicated specifically to the IAP outcome thus far. The symposium was chaired by two of our PI`s: Veerle Darras (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium) and Annemie Van der Linden (University of Antwerp, Belgium) and entitled: Hormones and neuroplasticity: image guided discoveries of molecular mechanisms in neuroplasticity.

The symposium was introduced by an opening lecture to explain the goals of our project and to situate our hypotheses: In-vivo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) guided discoveries of molecular mechanisms of neuroplasticity in songbirds. Annemie Van der Linden, Julie Hamaide, Geert De Groof, Lisbeth Van Ruijssevelt, Jasmien Orije, Elisabeth Jonckers, PLASTOCINE consortium.

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Four additional talks were given, all by young students showing their accomplishments in the projects. The content of the talks was chosen as such that the project was covered as much as possible in all is levels.


  • DNA (hydroxy)methylation dynamics during zebra finch vocal development.
    Jolien Diddens, Sandra Steyaert, Carolina Frankl, Sita Ter Haar, Jeroen Galle, Wim Van Criekinge, Manfred Gahr, Jacques Balthazart, Annemie Van der Linden, Tim De Meyer, Wim Vanden Berghe.
  • Local control of thyroid hormone action during ontogeny of the song control system.
    Sander Raymaekers, Wout Verbeure, Sita Ter Haar, Jacques Balthazart, Charlotte Cornil, Veerle Darras.
  • Unravelling the contribution of thyroid and steroid hormones in seasonal neuroplasticity with in vivo MRI.
    Jasmien Orije, Geert De Groof, Elisabeth Jonckers, Sander Raymaekers, Veerle Darras, Annemie Van der Linden.
  • Seasonal changes and steroid control of perineuronal nets in the song control system.
    Gilles Cornez,Olesya Shevchouk, Farrah F. Madison, Gregory F. Ball, Annemie Van der Linden, Charlotte A. Cornil, Jacques Balthazart.

Additional data presentation: Oral presentations and posters

Additional data were presented during a second symposium on rapid effects of neuroestrogens on behavior chaired by two other PI`s: Gregory F. Ball (University of Maryland, USA) & Jacques Balthazart (University of Liege, Belgium).


  • Dual action of neuro-estrogens in the regulation of male sexual behavior.
    Charlotte Cornil.
  • Fast effects of estrogens in the regulation of birdsong.
    Beau Alward, Catherine de Bournonville, Trevor Chan, Jacques Balthazart, Charlotte Cornil, Gregory Ball.
  • Rapid effects of estrogens depletion on auditory processing in a seasonal songbird.
    Jacques Balthazart, Geert De Groof, Charlotte A. Cornil, Annemie Van der Linden.

Moreover during the cheese and wine poster session we were able to present 4 posters:


  • In vivo magnetic resonance imaging to explore the establishment of sex differences in the zebra finch brain during the critical period for vocal learning.
    Julie Hamaide, Elisabeth Jonckers, Jolien Diddens, Lisbeth Van Ruijssevelt, Geert De Groof, Annemie Van der Linden
  • In-vivo online monitoring of testosterone-induced neuroplasticity in a seasonal songbird.
    J. Orije, G. De Groof, S. Van Massenhoven, E. Jonckers, V. Darras, A. Van der Linden
  • Epigenetically regulated genes in Zebra finch brain development are enriched for hormone receptor specific regulatory control mechanisms Estrogen Receptor Elements in Zebra finch epigenetically regulated genes in the developing Zebra finch brain.
    Carolina Frankl-Vilches, Jolien Diddens, Sandra Steyaert, Antje Bakker, Nina Sohnius-Wilhelmi, Tim De Meyer, Wim Vanden Berghe, Antje Bakker, Manfred Gahr & Annemie Van der Linden
  • The zebrafinch functional methylome and its relevance to telencephalon development.
    Sandra Steyaert , Jolien Diddens, Carolina Frankl-Vilches, Sita Ter Haar, Jeroen Galle, Manfred Gahr, jacques Balthazart, Annemie Van der Linden, Wim Van Criekinge, Wim Vanden Berghe Tim De Meyer

Finally a special Keynote Lecture on avian genomics and endocrinology was given by Dr. David Clayton on of the members of our advisory board. (Title: “Canaries in the coal mine”: How birds reveal deep links between genome, brain and behavior).

Award ceremony

In 1984, a medal was established to honor outstanding contributions to the field of Avian Endocrinology. This year the Farner medal was awarded to one of our PIs Jacques Balthazart.

Additionally one of the two oral presentation awards was rewarded to Sander Raymaekers.