The Unit held its eighth annual Open Day for local schools on the 14th of March. Six local schools attended the day and 110 students and teachers took part in the activities. Dr Marco Capogna introduced the visit with a short presentation of the Unit's work; we are aiming to advance fundamental knowledge of the brain and to contribute toward a better neurobiological understanding of neurological and psychiatric disorders. He presented examples of Unit's results, from molecules to single neurons and neuronal networks. Groups of students went to visit the laboratories getting hands-on experience with instruments, real specimens and experiments, providing a glimpse of what to expect in a working research laboratory. They all visited two of the research groups.
Student feedback shows that they found the visit stimulating, and that the research they were shown was interesting. Several students asked questions about 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, cells in the hippocampus, the rat's brain activity, injecting DNA in gel, seeing the confocal microscope images, watching activity of the neurons in brain slices, 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.