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  • Unit

    We are pleased to announce that the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit is partnering with in2scienceUK to launch a unique programme for local school pupils to support their progress into university degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

    in2scienceUK is an award-winning charity that inspires and supports secondary-school pupils from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds by giving them opportunities to work alongside scientists, and to receive the advice and information they need to successfully progress to university and STEM careers. Since its foundation in 2010, in2scienceUK has worked in and around central London to empower hundreds of young people to realise their ambitions in education and working in the STEM sector.

    As part of the inaugural pilot scheme to begin this August, the Unit will host 5 pupils from state-funded schools across the city of Oxford with catchments that include students from low-income backgrounds. During their time in the Unit, the pupils will receive personalised mentoring from Unit scientists, and will be given opportunities to gain a wide variety of practical experiences as well as exposure to key concepts and challenges in neuroscience and medical research. In a series of integrated workshops with in2scienceUK, the pupils will also receive guidance on university applications, wider information about STEM careers, and training in transferable skills.

    Unit Deputy Director Professor Peter Magill commented "We are delighted to be working with in2scienceUK to bring their innovative work placement scheme to Oxford for the first time. The focus on local pupils who would benefit most from these special opportunities is a great fit to our flourishing Outreach Programme, and we look forward to playing our part in increasing the experiences and prospects of our mentees."

    Dr Rebecca McKelvey, Founder and Director of in2scienceUK, commented "We are really excited to be working with MRC BNDU members who are bringing their knowledge and expertise to support and inspire local students from low-income backgrounds to become the next generation of scientists."

    The progress and activities of our in2scienceUK placement students can be followed on our Twitter account.

     
  • Unit

    Congratulations to Unit scientist Dr Paul Dodson on being awarded the title of University Research Lecturer by the University of Oxford.

    University Research Lecturer titles are conferred annually in recognition of an individual’s distinction in their field as well as their contributions to research, teaching and administration.

    Unit Deputy Director Professor Peter Magill commented “Paul is an independent early-career scientist of the highest calibre. This award is a fitting acknowledgement of Paul’s exceptional productivity in research as well as his leadership and mentoring.”

  • Unit

    Congratulations to three members of the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit who have been honoured with prestigious awards at this year’s Forum of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), Europe’s pre-eminent neuroscience meeting.

    Unit Postdoctoral Scientist Dr Linda Katona has been awarded the FENS-KAVLI Network of Excellence Ph.D. Thesis Prize for 2016. The Prize is awarded every second year, after an open competition held across Europe, to a single neuroscientist for his/her outstanding doctoral thesis in any domain of neuroscience. Read more here.

    Unit Programme Leader Dr David Dupret has been elected a 2016-2020 Scholar of the FENS-KAVLI Network of Excellence. Membership of the Network of Excellence is awarded to a handful of independent early-career neuroscientists every 2 years, and is reserved for those considered to be the most talented researchers among their peers. Read more here.

    And last, but certainly not least…

    Associate Unit member Professor Paul Bolam has been named the 2016 Dana/EDAB Neuroscience Outreach Champion and has thus received The David and Hillie Mahoney Award for an Individual’s Contribution to Outreach. This unique Award is given every 2 years to reward an individual who has significantly contributed to the promotion of brain awareness through continued public outreach efforts. Read more here.

    Unit Director Professor Peter Brown commented “These three distinctions are so well deserved and, taken together, are a clear reflection of the wealth of exemplary talent and career support present at all levels of the Unit. Surely, a record haul and ‘hat trick’ for any single institution!”

  • Unit

    We are delighted to announce that Unit Programme Leader Dr David Dupret has been named a 2016-2020 Scholar of The FENS-KAVLI Network of Excellence.

    The Network of Excellence, established in 2014 as a collaboration between the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the Kavli Foundation, is a prestigious grouping of around 30 outstanding early-career neuroscientists. Membership of the Network is awarded to a handful of individuals every 2 years after an open competition held across Europe, and is reserved for those considered to be the most talented neuroscience researchers among their peers. The broad aim of the Network is to shape the future of neuroscience in Europe and beyond, through providing opportunities for young scientists, influencing science policy, and facilitating the exchange between science and society.

    David officially joined the FENS-KAVLI Network of Excellence during this week's FENS Forum of Neurosciences, Europe’s pre-eminent neuroscience meeting.

    Unit Director Professor Peter Brown commented “The Unit is thrilled that David has been elected to the membership of this highly-esteemed network. It is a timely recognition of David’s exceptional abilities and vision, as well as of his track record in delivering world-class science and mentoring.”

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  • Unit

    We are delighted to announce that Unit Postdoctoral Scientist Dr Linda Katona has been awarded the FENS-KAVLI Network of Excellence Ph.D. Thesis Prize for 2016.

    Linda received her Prize at an award ceremony held today in Copenhagen at the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Forum of Neurosciences, Europe’s pre-eminent neuroscience meeting. When awarding the Prize, Professor Johannes Gräff, Chair of the Ph.D. Thesis Prize selection committee, commented “Dr Katona’s thesis is excellently structured, flawlessly written and well-illustrated […] Her results represent a paradigm shift in the depth of analyses of neuronal subtypes with respect to different network activity states, and we are sure that they will influence the way we analyse and understand neuronal networks and their relation with behaviour, including learning and memory, in the future”.

    The Prize is awarded every second year, after an open competition held across Europe, to a single neuroscientist for his/her outstanding doctoral thesis in any domain of neuroscience. The winning thesis was selected on the basis of the originality of the experimental approach employed, as well as of the new insights gained and the overall general presentation and the clarity of the thesis document itself. In Linda’s D.Phil. thesis, entitled “The role of cell-type selective synaptic connections in rhythmic neuronal network activity in the hippocampus”, she tested the hypothesis that differences in connectivity and molecular composition across different hippocampal interneuron types reflect the specialisation in their functions. Her results obtained in freely-moving rats have greatly improved our understanding of how pyramidal cell firing is regulated during distinct oscillatory network states.

    On receiving her Prize, Linda took to the stage and briefly commented on the significance of the work, before thanking her supervisors Professors Peter Somogyi (Unit Programme Leader) and Thomas Klausberger (Associate Unit Member) for instilling in her a love for neuroscience and critical thinking as well as providing her with the knowledge and support enabling this achievement. Linda also took the opportunity to acknowledge the support she received from all her colleagues in the Unit, highlighting the dedicated training she received from her former colleague Dr Damien Lapray.

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  • Unit

    We are delighted to announce that Associate Unit member Professor Paul Bolam has been named the Dana/EDAB Neuroscience Outreach Champion, also known as The David and Hillie Mahoney Award for an Individual’s Contribution to Outreach, for 2016.

    The Award is given every 2 years, after an open competition held across Europe, to reward an individual who has significantly contributed to the promotion of brain awareness through continued public outreach efforts. The Award is sponsored by the Dana Foundation and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) in collaboration with the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS). Paul received his Award at a ceremony held today in Copenhagen at the FENS Forum of Neurosciences, Europe’s pre-eminent neuroscience meeting.

    Unit Deputy Director Professor Peter Magill commented “The Unit is thrilled to have led the successful nomination of Paul for this unique and highly prestigious Award. It is a fitting recognition of Paul’s selfless service in fostering public engagement activities of the highest quality for more than 20 years. Paul is a fantastic mentor and role model, and his sustained commitment to neuroscience outreach has been inspirational for us as we collectively deliver the Unit’s bespoke contribution to this vital aspect of modern science. Paul is an Outreach Champion in every sense.”

    Professor Monica di Luca, FENS President, presented the Award and commented “Paul Bolam is not only a first-class neuroscientist, but also a passionate advocate for helping people understand the ageing brain."

  • Unit

    On 22nd June, the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit welcomed 25 pupils and teachers from state-funded schools in the London area who are enrolled with Generating Genius, a charitable organisation that supports talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to realise their potential in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

    The open day for Generating Genius was one of many public engagement events led by the Medical Research Council and held across the country from 18th-26th June 2016 as part of the MRC Festival of Medical Research.

    During the visit, small groups of pupils talked informally with Unit members about key concepts and challenges in brain research, as well as what it is like being a scientist. Special emphasis was placed on giving pupils the opportunity to try some ‘hands on’ science and to see real working laboratories and instruments for themselves.

    The visit began with an open and interactive discussion of when, how and why animals are used in medical research. Activities were then coordinated around 4 ‘knowledge stations’, at which pupils could experience some of the Unit’s core research themes, including human brain stimulation, the electrical activity of nerve cells, microscopy in neuroscience, the nerve cell networks of memory, and the brain in health and Parkinson’s disease. The visit ended with a feedback session, and pupils were given souvenirs to take home.

    Unit scientist Dr Natalie Doig, winner of the 2016 Director’s Award for Public Engagement, commented, “What a great day! It was fantastic to see the school pupils enjoying the experience as well as seeing all the Unit students and staff getting involved.”

  • Unit

    Congratulations to Unit Postdoctoral Neuroscientist Dr Natalie Doig on winning the Director’s Award for Public Engagement for 2016.

    The Award is given annually, on the basis of nominations made by Unit members, to recognise and celebrate the exemplary contributions of an individual or small collective to the Unit’s extensive Outreach Programme.

    Natalie received her Award from Unit Director Professor Peter Brown at a special ceremony held today. Professor Brown commented “It gives us all great pleasure to reward Natalie in this way. Natalie’s energy and enthusiasm for public engagement are remarkable, and she has personally delivered engagement activities of the highest quality and impact.”

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  • Unit

    Congratulations to Unit student Gido van de Ven who recently received an award from the Vice-Chancellor’s Fund, a University-wide scheme intended to assist students of exceptional academic merit in the final stages of their D.Phil. studies. Gido’s doctoral research, supervised by Dr David Dupret, is focussed on the role of hippocampal sharp-wave/ripples in the consolidation of new cell assemblies and memories.

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  • Unit

    Congratulations to Unit scientist Dr Helen Barron on her award of an Early Career Researcher start-up grant from the University’s John Fell OUP Research Fund. Working with Unit Programme Leader Dr David Dupret and other scientists in Oxford, Helen will use the grant to carry out research on the mechanisms of memory in animals and humans.

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