Virtual symposium on n-3 Fatty Acids, Cognition and Mental Health

8-10 March 2021

Although Zoom and our home offices were a poor substitute for the Wordsworth Hotel and the stunning Lake District, our virtual symposium on n-3 fatty acids, cognition and mental health was nevertheless a scientific success. Our virtual format had the great advantage of opening the meeting up to more of our international colleagues, and we were all particularly impressed with our Melbourne attendees who joined us in the middle of their night.

The meeting delved into important questions in the field, like the gaping disconnect between the large associations between fish and long-chain omega-3 (EPA+DHA) intake in prospective cohort studies (which us underpinned by strong mechanistic evidence in cell and animal models) and the marginal or null findings in randomised controlled trials. This discussion was informed by learnings from the cardiovascular field.


Presentations critiqued the current state of the art in:

  • DHA and overall brain macronutrient metabolism
  • lipidomics and specialised pro-resolving mediators
  • determinants of response to EPA/DHA intake
  • neuroinflammation and glial cell function
  • additive and synergistic benefits of other dietary components with DHA
  • innovation in brain imaging.


To mimic the many networking benefits of our in-person symposia, we ended with a virtual bar and career session, with a number of the senior scientists (in terms of their career, rather than their age of course!) sharing wisdom on how to have a career that fits with your own values and interests, and when and how to say ‘no’ .

Many congratulation to Mr David Mongan, RCSI Dublin, Ireland, who won the award for best presentation by an early-career researcher for his presentation ‘polyunsaturated fatty acids and mental disorders in adolescence and early adulthood’.

We’re planning a follow-up in-person event in 2022 or 2023.


Dr Philippa Jackson, Northumbria University, UK

Professor Anne Marie Minihane, University of East Anglia, UK

Speakers and attendees

Professor Franklin Aigbirhio, University of Cambridge, UK

Mrs. Isabella Cordova Arellanes, University of Southern California, USA

Dr Gillian Coughlan, Baycrest, Toronto, Canada

Professor Stephen Cunnane, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada

Professor Jesmond Dalli, QMUL, UK

Dr Simon Dyall, University of Roehampton, UK

Ms Sarah Gauci, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Dr Lee Hooper, University of East Anglia, UK

Dr Joe Hibbeln, Barton Health, California, USA

Dr Hannah Jones, University of Bristol, UK

Dr Duco Koenis, QMUL, UK

Dr Sophie Layé, INRAE Bordeaux, France

Dr Cristina Legeido-Quigley, KCL, UK

Dr David Mongan, RCSI Dublin, Ireland

Dr Isabell Nessel, QMUL, UK

Dr Ana Pinto, KCL, UK

Dr Matthew Pontifex, University of East Anglia, UK

Mr. Jeff Reddan, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Dr Rasha Saleh, University of East Anglia, UK

Dr Stephen Thompson, University of Cambridge, UK

Dr Sandrine Thuret, KCL, UK

Dr Inge van der Wurff, Open Universiteit, Netherlands

Professor Dr Clemens von Schacky, Omegametrix, Germany

Ms Annick van Soest, WUR, Netherlands