Unit Programme Leader David Dupret, Investigator Scientist Tim Viney, D.Phil. Students Abhilasha Joshi and Eszter Korman, and Visiting Students Alison Comrie and Minas Salib, all enthusiastically served on the MRC stand at the Oxfordshire Science Festival held in Oxford's Bonn Square on Saturday 7th March 2015. The Unit crew was joined by many other MRC-funded staff and students from MRC Harwell. This year, the Unit team led several interactive displays with a special emphasis on brain plasticity, dementia and memory disorders. A various range of hands-on activities were offered, such as making of brain cells (from pipe cleaners!), observation of Golgi-stained neurons and 3d models of the human brain.
Unit D.Phil student Abhilasha Joshi commented “At the Oxfordshire Science Festival, we had to tailor our activities for an audience encompassing all age groups. We found ourselves in need of some new vocabulary to communicate: 'thorns' for spines and, my favourite, ‘head-box’ for skull. The actvities using the ‘brain plasticity goggles’ were hugely popular. We had some amazing discussions, and surprised many of our visitors with facts like ‘you have billions of nerve cells in your brain’. It was lovely to see many young children diligently making neve cells and networks. One of them remarked that the brain cells she had made were of different ‘types’ because they had different ‘shapes’ and ‘colours’ – that insight made my day!”.
Unit senior scientists David Dupret and Marco Capogna, and Unit D.Phil. student Colin McNamara, all enthusiastically served on the MRC stand at the Cheltenham Science Festival this year, which ran from 2nd to 7th June. The Unit team were joined by many other MRC-funded staff and students from across the UK, and all were ably coordinated by Erika Doyle from MRC Harwell. With a very large number of visitors, the festival attendance reached another record high.
Jeff McIlhinneyreports on the Cheltenam Science Festival:
Miss Alison Comrie joins the group of Professor Peter Somogyi as visiting student for a stay of four months. Alison is currently an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. Neuroscience & Cognitive Sciences degree and a student researcher at Dr Carol Barnes’ laboratory, Neural Systems, Memory, and Aging, University of Arizona. http://www.embi.arizona.edu.
We are very pleased to welcome Abhilasha Joshi to the Unit for a postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford and registered at Brasenose College. She has joined Professor Somogyi’s laboratory and her co-supervisor is Dr David Dupret. Her research project “Behaviour and neuronal network state-dependent activity of identified neurons in the temporal cortex of the brain”. Abhilasha was awarded the Felix Scholarship, which is primarily aimed at Indian graduate students to help them to achieve their potential by coming to the U.K.
Congratulations to Abhilasha Joshi who has been awarded the Senior Hulme Scholarship by Brasenose College. These scholarships are awarded each year to the best doctoral students as recognition of academic distinction. As a part of the award, Abhilasha will receive a research allowance and Senior Hulme scholars are also entitled to certain High Table dining rights.