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.

Unit Outreach at Little Milton Primary School

As part of the Unit’s highly successful and long-running Public Engagement Programme, Unit Senior Scientist Paul Bolam and student Federica Vinciati visited Little Milton Primary School to deliver a Neuroscience Session for about 30 pupils aged 8-10.

Paul Bolam led the group discussion using PowerPoint slides, a plastic brain, fixed animal brains and various other props. The general points raised were: who we are and what we do as part of the MRC; what the brain is; how many cells the brain contains; electrical signals in brain cells and networks; localization of function; and diseases of the brain with a focus on those of the aged, i.e.  Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
The presentation also included video clips of an untreated and medicated person with Parkinson’s, as well as the therapeutic effects of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus in Parkinson’s.
Practical activities included: Mexican wave signal transmission through a network from ‘sensory organs’ to ‘muscles’, how it feels to have Parkinson’s, handling animal brains, and making pipe-cleaner neurons and networks.

Innumerable questions from the children left Paul and Federica totally exhausted!!

Making a pipe-cleaner neuron
The beginnings of a ‘network’ of pipe-cleaner neurons
The taecher’s infant child also wanted to join in!
Federica showing the fixed animal brains