About keynotes’ speakers conferences

The IAWMH 2019 Sientific Committee is pleased to present the conferences of:


Christina LAMB, London, UK

Keynote 4 – 8 March 10:30 – 11:15 am

Title: Women in war – the untold story

At the age of 21, an unexpected invitation to a wedding led Christina Lamb to move to Peshawar and start travelling with the Afghan Mujaheddin fighting the Soviet occupation of their country. Thirty years on Lamb is one of Britain’s leading foreign correspondents, winner of numerous awards, and a best-selling author of eight books.

As a woman in the largely male field of war correspondents, her focus is not the ‘bang-bang’ but what goes on behind the lines – how people keep life together and feed, educate and shelter their children and protect their elderly as all around them all Hell is breaking loose.

The Afghan mother telling of scraping moss from rocks to sustain her children as she shepherded them through the hills to escape bombing; the mothers under siege in the old cities of West Mosul or East Aleppo conjuring up sandwiches for their children from fried flour and leaves and keeping them warm by burning furniture or window frames. Those people are mostly women and you won’t find their names in the history books or on the war memorials that we pass almost every day but they are just as much heroes.

War is the darkest side of humanity, a macho show of power by the bully on the block or the failure to resolve things through any means other than fighting, and no one who has spent much time in war would wish it on anyone. The worst things happen in war often to the most innocent. Over the last few years Lamb says she has witnessed more brutality against women than any time in her career – the rape and sexual slavery of the Yazidis, the Nigerian girls abducted and forcibly married by Boko Haram and the Rohingya women gang-raped in front of their children by Burmese soldiers.

Lamb will talk about her years of living dangerously, covering conflicts from Iraq to Zimbabwe, working with inspirational figures such as Malala and disabled Syrian refugee Nujeen, what it’s like being a woman in a very male field, and why we need to stop telling only half the story.



Dr Maria MELCHIOR, Paris, France

Keynote 3 – 7 March 10:30 – 11:15 am

Title: Depression during the perinatal period : trajectories and consequences

Depression occurs among 6 to 13% of women who are pregnant or have delivered in the preceding 12 months and is a major risk factor of later health problems in the mother as well as developmental and psychological difficulties in the offspring. A prior history of mental health problems predicts depression during the perinatal period, but long-term trajectories of depression severity and persistence can vary over time. Similarly, the consequences of depression for women and their offspring also vary with symptom severity and course, particularly as certain periods are critical for child development.  Based on data from longitudinal cohort studies, including EDEN and ELFE based in France, my talk will address factors with predict trajectories of perinatal depression among women, as well as their consequences on the offspring, highlighting propitious avenues for prevention.



Prof. Maria A. OQUENDO, Philadelphia, USA

Keynote 1 – 5 March 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Title: Depression and Anxiety in Women: a pathway to suicidal behavior

Women are afflicted with mood and anxiety disorders at higher rates than men, yet their rates of suicide are lower than those of men in most countries around the world.  At the same time, women are more likely to report suicidal ideation and attempt suicide.  Thus despite a vulnerability towards mood and anxiety, women demonstrate relative resilience towards the most dreaded psychiatric outcome:  suicide death.  One possible cause of this may be attributable to the fact that women are much more likely than men to have suffered childhood abuse, especially sexual abuse.  This important factor increases the likelihood of multiple negative outcomes including mood and anxiety disorders.  Yet, it may lead to difficulties with emotion regulation, hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis hyperresponsivity to psychosocial stressors and challenges in harnessing key brain structures needed for perspective taking.  This clinical picture has been linked to stress-sensitive suicidal behavior that is more impulsive (less planned), perhaps resulting in lower likelihood of mortality in the context of a suicide attempt. Clinical and neurobiological characteristics leading to this observations will be discussed.


Prof. David RUBINOW, Chapel Hill, USA

Keynote 2 – 6 March 10:30- 11:15 am

Title: Sex and Depression: This Is Your Brain on Steroids

Observations of the disproportionate incidence of depression in women compared with men have long preceded the recent explosion of interest in sex differences. Nonetheless, the source and implications of this epidemiologic sex difference remain unclear, as does the practical significance of the multitude of sex differences that have been reported in brain structure and function.  Data have been somewhat more edifying following attempts to understand depression in women. The long observed coincident occurrence of depression with periods of reproductive change – PMDD, PPD, PMD – permitted the inference that ovarian steroids impact the brain systems that regulate affect, an inference that has been resoundingly supported by recognition of the protean cellular and systems effects of ovarian steroids. Indeed, there is literally no molecule nor physiologic process implicated in the mediation of or susceptibility to affective dysfunction that is not meaningfully modulated by ovarian hormones. Given these myriad neuroregulatory effects,  what principles can be extracted from the literature that help define the neurobiology of reproductive-related depressions:  1) These disorders are characterized by normal reproductive function (and hormone levels); 2) paradoxically, the disorders are triggered by reproductive steroids, but only in a susceptible population; 3) this phenomenon – “differential sensitivity” – can be observed in both gonadal steroid-stimulated regional brain activation (fMRI) and in vitro transcriptional responses (lymphoblastoid cell culture) in studies of women with reproductive-related depression.  Reproductive steroids are powerful regulators of both neural and gene networks that underlie both affective state and susceptibility to altered affective regulation.