CamNeuro News

Bright Brains -BNA Newsletter

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bb_logo_hkzgwhx-jpg-742x400_q85_cropBNA’s “Bright Brains” is looking for writers/reviewers!

“Bright Brains” is a newsletter that is created and edited by BNA students, postdocs and early career researchers from all over the UK. It appears three times a year in the BNA bulletin and everyone is welcome to contribute as writer or reviewer.

Individuals interested in writing/reviewing please contact David Howett (dh525@cam.ac.uk), and check out previous issues here for the type of content.

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Successful careers event organised by CamBRAIN.

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CamBRAIN president Sally Jennings opening the event

After getting a degree in neuroscience, there are many exciting career options available to you. Some people choose to stay in academia, while others may want to explore jobs in industry, science communication, or policy. A science degree is highly valued in a variety of sectors and companies, which can be easily forgotten by graduates. Therefore, CamBRAIN – The Cambridge Neuroscience Society organised a careers event on Monday 25th April. They invited professionals from a wide range of companies to speak about their current employer, role, and career progression.

The first speaker was Dr Deniz Vatansever, who recently started a post-doc at the University of York after completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he was involved in founding CamBRAIN and served as the first president of the society. He spoke about many unsuccessful applications during his career and stressed the importance of being persistent – he got where he is by “a combination of luck and hard work”. Read the rest of this entry »

Outstanding Cambridge Neuroscience Seminar 2016

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Once again, Cambridge Neuroscience put on a highly interactive and successful symposium to showcase cutting-edge research. This year’s theme was “New Directions” and the delegates truly gained insights into new, innovative studies. The meeting was opened by Professor Bill Harris, head of the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience. He thanked the seminar organisers, and especially Dr Dervila Glynn, for their hard work, and promised an exciting day of talks and posters.

Photo: Sally Jennings
Photo: Sally Jennings

The first presenter was Dr Rick Livesey who explained how the human cerebral cortex develops differently from other primates and mammals to contain more cortical neurons. This higher number of neurons is thought to be one of the reasons for our higher cognitive abilities. Next, Dr Lucy Cheke presented a new way of measuring memory in humans. She and her colleagues have developed an innovative spatial working memory task which was used to assess memory in obese subjects. They found that a higher BMI was correlated with impairments in memory, offering new insights into the relationship of eating behaviour and cognition. The final speaker of the first session was Dr Tiago Branco, who investigates instinctive behaviours. His research focuses on mice and their eating behaviour in threatening environments. Dr Branco explained how mice compute the decision to eat or escape in such environments. Read the rest of this entry »

Very successful ‘Imaging the Nervous System’ Symposium

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The biennial Cambridge Neuroscience Symposium attracts neuroscientists from within and well beyond Cambridge. This year the theme was ‘Imaging the Nervous System’. The programme brought together a wide range of techniques to visualise and better understand the processes underlying everything from the intra-cellular RNA expression to the behaviour of nematodes and the development of human psychopathology. The event was attended by 400 delegates and featured 25 research talks and over 90 research posters. The symposium was opened by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz.

Day one focused on recent advances in fundamental neuroscience. Every presenter, as you may expect, showed off his or her exceptional images of the nervous system at the microscopic scale. The first session, chaired by Professor Bill Harris, kicked off with a discussion of how neuronal circuits evolve, from those in the hippocampus and amygdala of zebra fish (Kawakami), to the Drosophilia fruit fly (Cardona) and the stunning brainbow mice (Livet). This work was thrown into perspective by Professor Helmstaedter whose video of neurons imaged using electron microscopy reminded us how densely packed the cells of the central nervous system actually are. His talk promoted the “citizen science” games BrainFlight and Eyewire that have made tracking the exceptionally high volume of data that has been collected a fun game that anyone can take part in solving.

PhotosINS-2. Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscience Podcast Series from Cambridge University

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Brain Chat's imageBrain Chat: Reporting on exciting brain research revolutions presented at the Cambridge Neuroscience 2015 Seminar. This podcast addresses key questions including: can we boost the brain through diet? What is the reason for our existence? Will Sat Nav and Google Maps diminish brain power? And should animals be used in research?

Guests include Nobel Laureates John O’Keefe and Edvard Moser – will reliance on Google Maps and Sat Nav diminish our brain? Douglas Armstrong discusses the controversial use of animals in brain research. Plus we join Giovanna Mallucci who links together the making, and breaking, of the mind. Andrea Brand, developed a pioneering technique which allows scientists to peer into the brain as never, gets to grips with the effects of diet on the birth of brain cells AND Daniel Wolpert the self proclaimed movement chauvinist – argues that our sole reason for being is to move.

To listen to this amazing podcast, click here.

Neuroscience at the 21st Cambridge Science Festival

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Each year, the University of Cambridge welcomes over 40,000 visitors into its historic lectures halls, museums and state-of-the art research facilities, as they explore a world of scientific discoveries and knowledge through the Cambridge Science Festival. People of all ages come together with world-renowned scientists in a series of talks, lectures, theatre, art and interactive exhibitions in order to find out more about the latest advancements in science.

Professor Barry Everitt during his public lecture on addiction, as part of the Cambridge Neuroscience Symposium.
Professor Barry Everitt during his public lecture on addiction, as part of the Cambridge Neuroscience Seminar.

Traditionally, one of the themes that has enjoyed tremendous popularity in this festival is “neuroscience”. This year, a number of laboratories and institutes opened their doors to welcome visitors in to a world of ground-breaking neuroscience research that brings us one step closer to understanding the brain: that mysterious organ, which to many may appear as a ‘black box’ holding information too complicated to understand. But neuroscientists unravelled the brain for attendees of the 25th Cambridge Science Festival, giving them the opportunity to take part in real experiments at the Health Psychology Lab, getting involved in hands-on activities at the Cognition and Brain Science Unit, and strolling around the Cambridge University Hospital exhibits. Visitors were also able to attend various public lectures and free talks that have been arranged to tell the fascinating story of progress in neuroscience and discuss the outstanding questions that remain elusive. The discussions spanned not only brain disorders and mental health, but also included the importance of playfulness in child development and adult creativity, what we can learn from studying animals like scrub jays (a member of the crow family), and the impact of science on morality and ethics.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pint of Science 2015 – Beautiful Mind

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One answer to the question: “Would you date a human-like, artificially intelligent machine?”

More than 50 scientists took the stage between 18th – 20th May in six local pubs in Cambridge. While having a drink in a relaxed atmosphere, the audience had the chance to listen to experts explaining their research. The festival aims to make science accessible and encourages participants to ask questions, discuss ideas and share opinions, without the need for previous knowledge or expertise.

Cambridge Neuroscience was proud to sponsor one of the six themes: “Beautiful Mind”, covering topics from neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry and featuring a brilliant line-up of many Cambridge Neuroscience speakers.

The first night was dedicated to the topic “Moving minds – the brain-body connection”. Dr Simon Stott presented new insights into Parkinson’s disease, Prof Daniel Wolpert explained why our brains’ most important function is movement control, outing himself as a “movement chauvinist”, and Dr Ian Coyle-Gilchrist described how our understanding of mental illness and diagnostic categories have changed.

Read the rest of this entry »