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About Us

Our History


Founded in 1994

The International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience came to life on 2nd July 1994 at a meeting in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Those present at this meeting which established the Society were Roger Dampney, John Furness, David Hirst, Marcello Costa, Bill Blessing and Max Bennett.  The following issues were key drivers for discussion:

  1. the need for a society dedicated to Autonomic Neuroscience as it was felt that this area was poorly represented by the International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO).
  2. the identification of leading autonomic researchers worldwide that would contribute to such an organisation.
  3. the organisation of an international conference to inaugurate the society and elect an international executive to take over from the interim executive.
  4. establishing efficient means of communication between the interim executive and eventually all members of the society.
  5. the possibility of the Journal of the Autonomic Nervous System become the official Journal of the Society.

At this original meeting John Furness brought his colleague, Joel Bornstein, into the group and suggested that Jim Angus should also be invited to join. Max Bennett presented the Statutes and By-Laws of IBRO at the meeting for the purposes of setting up what he suggested should be called the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience (ISAN). It was decided at this fist meeting in Melbourne that Geoff Burnstock be approached to become President, and that the executive would consist of Max Bennett (Executive Vice-President), Joel Bornstein (Executive Secretary), John Furness (Treasurer), David Hirst (Conference Convenor) and Jim Angus (Finance Officer). The ISAN Interim Executive Committee was thus bootstrapped into existence. [derived from a history by MR Bennett]. The existence of the society was proposed by Australian Autonomic Neuroscientists at a meeting on July 2nd 1994 and formally constituted in March 1995 with Geoff Burnstock elected as the Foundation President [personal communication; G Burnstock].

Past Meetings

The core purpose of the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience is to provide regular opportunities for researchers, clinicians, and industry partners to converge in order to share ideas, scientific data, and best practice on a global stage. To this end, the Society hosts an international scientific congress, usually every two years.

Conferences are typically held over three days, attract 200 – 500 delegates, and feature a combination of plenary talks from internationally renowned investigators, parallel symposia on emerging topics, and poster sessions. The Society recognises the importance of conference participation to our trainees and offers reduced registration fees and prizes to postgraduate students

Previous conference venues include:

 1997 Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
 2000 London, UK 
 2003 Calgary, Canada 
 2005 Marseille, France 
 2007 Kyoto, Japan 
 2009 Sydney, Australia 
 2011 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 
 2013 Giessen, Germany 
 2015 Stresa, Italy 
 2017 Nagoya, Japan 
 2019 Los Angeles, California, United States 
 2022 Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Australia