Check out a few of our keynote sessions and Speakers for the 2021 virtual conference

The ISBD Annual Conference is proud to offer cutting-edge, rigorous scientific content.  Read more about our keynote speakers and sessions that are planned for the 2021 Virtual Global Conference.

Keynote Debate: Staging Bipolar Disorder Is Both Possible and Clinically Useful?

Prof Ralph Kupka, the Netherlands (FOR)
Prof. Gin Malhi, Australia (AGAINST)

Moderated by Prof. Manuel Sanchez de Carmona, Mexico

Ralph Kupka, MD, PhD Bio  |  Gin S. Malhi, MD Bio 

Staging is an important aspect of the diagnosis and prognosis of progressive medical illnesses and has been very helpful to guide treatment decisions in e.g. oncology, cardiology, and rheumatology. Over the past 15 years the concept of staging has been introduced into psychiatry, and especially in the field of severe chronic disorders such as psychosis and mood disorders. Various staging models have been proposed.

 However, given the still limited knowledge of the aetiology and pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders, the question arises whether it is possible as yet, to develop meaningful staging models for bipolar disorders. A furhter question then arises – what would be the clinical implications of any such staging system?

 In this Debate, opposing views will be discussed with arguments being put forward both for the feasibility of staging and its clinical utility and against these possibilities.  

 First, a brief overview will be given of three current staging models for bipolar disorder. Then the promises and pitfalls of the development and the clinical implications of these models will debated, starting with a clear-cut for (pro) and against (contra) format, followed by discussion involving input from the audience, with the perspective of suggestions for future directions

Terri Cheney
Experts by Experience Keynote
Click here to read more about Terri Cheney

As a successful entertainment attorney in Beverly Hills, Terri represented the likes of Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, and major motion picture studios. But beneath her seemingly flawless facade, she was struggling with a dangerous secret: ever since childhood, Terri had been battling a debilitating case of bipolar disorder.

Despite wild mood swings and repeated suicide attempts, Terri managed to keep her condition secret from everyone—but at a terrible price. Finally, in an effort to save her own life, she wrote a searing account of her mental illness. Manic: A Memoir quickly became a New York Times bestseller, was optioned by HBO, and translated into eight foreign languages.

Following Manic’s publication, Terri received hundreds of emails from parents of bipolar children. In response, she wrote The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar—a groundbreaking personal portrayal of the emerging phenomenon of childhood bipolar disorder.

Her life story was recently adapted for the “Modern Love” Amazon TV series, starring Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway as Terri. Her latest book, Modern Madness: An Owner’s Manual (Hachette 2020), is a collection of deeply personal, candid stories that illuminate the journey of mental illness, and offer hope for those with a diagnosis and all those who love, live, and work with them.

Terri’s writings and commentary have been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, the Huffington Post, Glamour, and countless articles and blogs, including her own ongoing blog for Psychology Today (, which has over a million views. She has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs, documentaries, and podcasts, from PBS to NPR to the New York Times. She speaks both nationally and internationally, to diverse audiences ranging from Ohio to Dubai.

Terri now devotes her advocacy skills to the cause of destigmatizing mental illness. She serves on the Honorary Board of Directors of the International Bipolar Foundation, the Advisory Board of Directors of the Friends of the Semel Institute at UCLA, the Board of Directors of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics at USC, and was a member of the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Program’s Community Advisory Board. In recognition of her public service, she received an official commendation from the County of Los Angeles, as well as the Advocates Award from Mental Health Advocacy Services, the Imagine Award from the International Bipolar Foundation, and the Ambassador of Hope Award from the Hope for Depression Research Foundation. She also founded a weekly mental health support group at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Terri graduated with honors from Vassar College, and received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Maria Faurholt-Jepsen
Smartphone-Based Treatment and Phenotyping in Bipolar Disorder – Needs Emphasized During the COVID Pandemic
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The last decade has shown an increase in smartphone ownership and interest in real-time life-logging. Within Bipolar Disorder the use of smartphones for monitoring/tracking of symptoms and treatment has received more and more attention with hopes for better and more timely mental health care. The need for a digital tool for more remote treatment and monitoring has indeed been highlighted during the COVID pandemic. This lecture will present data on the use of smartphone for treatment and monitoring, and highlight some of the issues which should be addressed before implemented as a standard clinical tool

Click here to read more about Dr. Faurholt-Jepsen

Maria Faurholt-Jepsen, MD, DMSc and senior researcher has since 2007 focused her research on the use of electronic devices for monitoring of illness activity in patients with bipolar disorder. Since 2010 she has as one of the first, in collaboration with prof. Lars Vedel Kessing, conducted the three RCTs investigating the effect of smartphone-based monitoring and treatment in patients with Bipolar Disorder. She has investigated the use of smartphone-based patient-reported data and sensor-based data for monitoring symptoms, classifying affective states and discriminating between patients and healthy individuals. The need and interest in remote and real-time monitoring has increased during the past ten years and clearly emphasized during the COVID pandemic.

John Cryan
Gut Feelings: Determining the Role of The Microbiome in Brain Health and Disease
Click here to read more about Prof. Cryan

John F. Cryan is Professor & Chair, Dept. of Anatomy & Neuroscience, University College Cork, Ireland and is also a Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland Prof. Cryan’s current research is focused on understanding the interaction between brain, gut & microbiome and how it applies to stress, psychiatric and immune-related disorders at key time-windows across the lifespan. He works at the translational interface both in humans and animal models. Prof. Cryan has published over 500 articles and has a H-index of 124 (Google Scholar). He is a Senior Editor of Neuropharmacology, of Neurobiology of Stress and of Nutritional Neuroscience and is on the Editorial Boards of a further 15 journals. He has co-edited four books including “Microbial Endocrinology: The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Health and Disease” (Springer Press, 2014) and is co-author of the bestselling “The Psychobiotic Revolution: Mood, Food, and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection” (National Geographic Press, 2017). He has received numerous awards including UCC Researcher of the Year in 2012; UCC Research Communicator of the Year 2017, the University of Utrecht Award for Excellence in Pharmaceutical Research in 2013 and being named on the Thomson Reuters /Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher list from 2017 to the present. He was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2017. He also received a Research Mentor Award from the American Gastroenterology Association and the Tom Connor Distinguished Scientist Award from Neuroscience Ireland in 2017 and was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Antwerp, Belgium in 2018. He was a TEDMED speaker in 2014, TEDx in 2017 and is immediate Past-President of the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society.

Gregor Hasler
Glutamate, Neuroplasticity and Psychedelics
Click here to read more about Prof. Hasler

Gregor Hasler, M.D. was born in Basel, Switzerland. He studied medicine at the University of Zurich, did his psychiatric residency in Paris, London, Lausanne and Zurich, and received his medical degree in 1995. Prof. Jules Angst, Zurich, trained him in psychiatric epidemiology. From 2003 to 2006 he was a visiting research fellow at the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, specialising in molecular neuroimaging. in 2010, he became tenured professor of psychiatry at the University of Bern and head physician of the Psychiatric University Hospital Bern. Since 2019 he is professor and chair of psychiatry at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

 He is the head of the Psychiatry Research Unit at the University of Fribourg and the Fribourg Network of Mental Health and has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles. He has received numerous awards for his scientific work, including the NARSAD Independent Investigator Award and the Robert Bing Award from the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. 

 As the president of the Swiss Society of Bipolar Disorders and the secretary of the Section on Pharmacotherapy of the World Psychiatric Association he has organised scientific conferences, educational courses and advanced trainings over many years.