News

  • Unit

    We are pleased to announce that the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit is now an official external affiliate of Imperial College London’s Centre for Neurotechnology, including the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Neurotechnology for Life and Health. As one of only a handful of Centre academic affiliates, the Unit can now build on its interactions with the world-class Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial, and Unit members will have the opportunity to co-supervise Imperial College graduate students on a pioneering 4-year (MRes+PhD) course at the interface of engineering and neuroscience. Imperial College’s Centre for Neurotechnology also has strong links with industry, and on our Vacancies page we are pleased to advertise the first joint academic/industrial studentship in the field of Neuromodulation Microelectronics, co-supervised by Dr Emm Drakakis (Bioengineering, Imperial College London), Dr Tim Denison (Medtronic Inc., USA), and Professor Peter Brown (MRC BNDU, Oxford).

     
  • Unit

    Welcome to Istvan Mihaly and Istvan Lukacs, who will spend their European Erasmus scholarship in the Unit this summer. They just finished 5th year medicine at the Medical University of Targu Mures, Romania. Istvan Mihaly joins David Dupret’s group and is supervised by Dr Pavel Perestenko in new virus-based labelling methodologies, optogenetics and immunocytochemistry. He plans to specialise in the field of clinical and experimental neurology. Istvan Lukacs has visited many times, and joins Peter Somogyi’s group, exploring the synaptic targets of pyramidal cells recorded and labelled in vitro in the human associational cerebral cortex using microscopic methods.

  • Unit

    We are delighted to announce that Unit scientist Dr John-Stuart Brittain has been awarded a MRC New Investigator Research Grant (NIRG) to pursue his new research programme, entitled “Non-invasive brain stimulation to suppress pathological tremors”.  John’s research focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying tremors, such as those occurring in Parkinson's disease and Essential Tremor, with a view to developing new therapeutic treatments. For some years now John has been working with Professor Peter Brown, and this award allows John to extend his work with additional collaborations as well as to apply new research tools like functional magnetic resonance imaging.

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  • Unit

    This week, members of the Magill Group were playing hosts to Olivia Seifert, who is currently studying for her A-Levels at Headington School, Oxford. Olivia has a keen interest in biomedical and human sciences, and following a recent visit of Unit scientists to her school, came to the Unit to learn more about the practical side of neuroscience research in a real working lab. During Olivia’s visit, she worked with all members of the Magill Group, and viewed every stage of a typical experiment in the lab. Olivia gained ‘hands on’ experience with some anatomical and molecular approaches to studying brain function, and also received training in neuroscience concepts. The results from Olivia’s immunofluorescence labelling experiments were first class!

  • Unit

    A warm welcome to Andrea Papp, winner of this year’s Ramon y Cajal competition. Her essays “Insights into our imaged mind” and “Evolution – communication – the future”, addressed the use of fMRI in brain imaging and how human interactions are affected by the digital age. Andrea will start her final year in the Aron Marton Gimnazium at Miercurea-Ciuc (Csikszereda), Romania, and joins last year’s winner Peter Sághy from Dunajska Streda (Dunaszerdahely), Slovak Republic, in studies of hippocampal GABAergic interneurons. Under the supervision of Professor Peter Somogyi, and in collaboration with Drs Perina Lau and Karri Lamsa, they will test whether long-term potentiation and long-term depression evoked by high-frequency stimulation in vivo correlate with the identity and position of interneurons in the hippocampal network.

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  • Unit

    Unit Director Peter Brown proved to be a most accommodating volunteer for a demonstration of ‘hands-on’ brain research at a recent visit from Generating Genius, during which he and Unit Research Associate Huiling Tan showed visitors how to use a magnetic stimulator to activate his brain and cause movement.

    Generating Genius is a registered Charity that supports talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to realise their potential in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

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  • Unit

    We are pleased to welcome Jennifer Culshaw for a summer of research and work experience in the Magill Group. Jennifer is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Leeds, where she pursuing a B.Sc. in Neuroscience. During Jennifer’s time in the Unit, she will work closely with Dr Paul Dodson and Anna-Kristin Kaufmann on a project investigating the diversity of midbrain dopaminergic neurons.

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  • Unit

    The Unit was well represented in this year’s Paton Prize Talks, with two students (Abhilasha Joshi and Anna-Kristin Kaufmann) each giving a presentation about their ongoing thesis research.  Abhilasha, a second-year student co-supervised by Professor Peter Somogyi and Dr David Dupret, was jointly awarded this year’s Paton Prize for her presentation entitled “Hippocampal rhythmic activity and the firing of medial septal neurons in mice navigating in virtual reality”.

    The Paton Prize is named in honour of the late Professor Sir William Paton, former Head of the University Department of Pharmacology, and is awarded annually to one or two students on the basis of general research excellence, the quality of presentation and the ability to deal with the adjudicators’ questions.

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  • Unit

    The Unit held its inaugural Science Day on Friday 29th May 2015. Ongoing and future research projects were the focus of discussion, and Unit members and visitors eagerly took the opportunity to give the constructive criticism that is needed to foster world-leading research.

    There were 14 talks and 9 poster presentations, most of which were given by the Unit’s students and early-career scientists.  Unit Deputy Director Peter Magill commented “It was fantastic to see the next generation of our talented scientists in action and, most gratifying, to learn from their ruthless questioning of Programme Leaders.”

  • Unit

    Our congratulations go to Unit D.Phil. student Federica Vinciati for successfully defending her doctoral thesis, entitled “Electrophysiological properties of striatal neurons in the dopamine-intact and Parkinsonian brain”, in her viva voce examination on 18th May 2015.

    Federica’s viva examiners were Dr Mark Ungless (MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College London) and Dr Mark Walton (Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford).

    Federica was supervised by Professor Peter Magill and Professor Paul Bolam, and was also mentored by Dr Andrew Sharott.

     

     

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