This is an historical archive of the activities of the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit (MRC ANU) that operated at the University of Oxford from 1985 until March 2015. The MRC ANU established a reputation for world-leading research on the brain, for training new generations of scientists, and for engaging the general public in neuroscience. The successes of the MRC ANU are now built upon at the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford.

Neuroscience through the eyes of artists

Yesterday, another class of artists came to visit the Basal Ganglia labs. It is the beginning of term, and the new first year students on the Central Saint Martins MA Art and Science Programme are straight into an introduction to a biomedical research lab. 

The 20 graduate students are interested in science in the context of their art practice, but may not have experience of a scientific research environment. Coming to the ANU was an opportunity to discover what the research, people and technology are like here. Scientists demonstrated some of the experimental techniques used, talked through our research objectives to learn more about the basal ganglia brain structures, and answered many questions.

Meanwhile, down the road at Arts at the Old Fire Station, the second year art students were installing their artworks for A Nervous Encounter. These pieces are the result of an extended collaboration, following their first visit to the Basal Ganglia lab nearly a year ago. With media ranging from print-making and photography to sound pieces, artworks respond to neuroscience research in a variety of ways, from the manipulation of microscope images, to utilizing sounds from the lab, and installations exploring ideas about universal structures in nature.

It was very exciting to see the preparation for the exhibition, which opens on Saturday 6 October. A Nervous Encounter continues from 6-20 October (Tues-Sat, 10-5pm).

A scientist describes how samples are prepared for the electron microscope
An image is discussed in the dimly lit electron microscope room
Techniques used to analyse neurons are described on an epifluorescent microscope
An artist makes notes during their lab visit
A blackboard announces the installation for 'A Nervous Encounter' begins
Exhibition installation continues
Exhibition installation continues
Exhibition installation continues
Exhibition installation continues