On 14th March the Unit held its seventh annual Open Day for local schools. Four local schools attended the day and 48 sixth form students took part in the activities. After a brief introductory talk by Dr Jeff McIlhinney, which described the breadth of the Unit's work, from molecules to minds, and introduced the students to some basic brain facts, they were able to visit the laboratories. Here they spent time getting hands-on experience with instruments and real specimens, providing a glimpse of what to expect in a working research laboratory. They all visited two of the research groups.
Student feedback indicated that the visit was very stimulating, and that the research they were shown was interesting. Several students asked questions that indicated an interest in how to become a research scientist, as well as what it was like to do research, and how well it was paid. It was clear that the teachers also found the experience stimulating, and we were again told that after last year's visit some students were inspired to make University applications for various bioscience degrees, including neuroscience and medicine. From the students' responses the highlights of the visit included: looking at specimens in the electron microscope, seeing how the brains were sectioned, doing the molecular biology mini-practical, seeing the confocal microscope images, the Parkinson's talk, being told about how to monitor brain activity and how this can represent learning processes. Thanks to all who participated and made this day possible.