News

  • Unit

    On 3rd November, the Unit hosted a workshop on Oscillations and Novel Interventional Therapies (OnIt) at Brasenose College, Oxford. The OnIt workshop was arranged by BNDU Director Peter Brown and involved members of his Group and the Unit Groups of Rafal Bogacz and Andrew Sharott, together with visitors from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, the Bernstein Center, Freiburg, and the Biomedical Electronics Translational Research Center, Hsinchu, and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and University, Taipei, Taiwan. The small, intensive meeting proved to be an excellent opportunity for biologists, clinicians, engineers and mathematicians to interact and forge collaborations directed towards advancing scientific discoveries from bench to bedside.

  • Unit

    A warm welcome to Dr Eduardo Martin Moraud, who joins the Group of Rafal Bogacz to work on the design and implementation of computational models to guide the optimisation of closed-loop ‘deep brain stimulation’ paradigms in Parkinson’s disease. Eduardo completed his Ph.D. in Neural Engineering at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, in the labs of Prof. Micera and Prof Courtine, where he worked on the development of predictive models and closed-loop control algorithms for spinal-cord stimulation after spinal cord injury. Eduardo is fascinated by the idea of developing smart technologies that dynamically interact with the nervous system, in particular in the context of personalizing neuroprosthetic interventions and treatments.

     

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  • Unit

    Alexander Morley has joined Dr David Dupret's Group as a D.Phil. student. Alex has previously worked in Dr. Bains’ lab at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in Canada, where his project was focused on using optogenetic and immunohistochemical techniques to delineate a novel stress-related neuronal circuit.

    Over the next few years, Alex will perform multi-channel extracellular recordings to investigate how oscillatory communication between the hippocampus and its connected brain circuits contributes to multi-modal information processing for the purpose of memory and adaptive behaviours.

     
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  • Unit

    We are pleased to welcome Miss Barbara Schaffran to the Unit as a visiting student working under the supervision of Dr Paul Dodson.

    Barbara is currently undertaking a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Neuroscience at the Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany, and will be working on her thesis project in the Magill Group. During her time in the Unit, Barbara will investigate in vivo firing properties of midbrain dopaminergic neurons in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease.

    Barbara completed her Bachelor’s thesis at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn, Germany, where she performed in vivo time-lapse imaging in developing Drosophila larva sensory neurons under the supervision of Dr Gaia Tavosanis.

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  • Unit

    Welcome to Nils Kurzawa, who will spend his European Erasmus scholarship in the Unit this summer. Nils is a 2nd year MSc student in Biotechnology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. His research interests focus on the interface of Computer Science and Biology. Nils joins Rafal Bogacz's Group and will work on computational modelling of human learning in decision-making processes.

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  • Unit

    The Unit recently hosted a group of staff and lay members of the research charity Parkinson’s UK who have a particular interest in the use of animals in biomedical research. The visit was co-organised by Paul Bolam, Emeritus Senior Scientist at the Unit, and Claire Bale, Head of Research Communications and Engagement at the charity.  The visit began with Unit Director Peter Brown and Deputy Director Peter Magill highlighting how research using animals has advanced research into, and treatments for, Parkinson’s disease, as well as some other benefits arising from the mutual exchange of ideas and discoveries made in the clinical and “basic” research fields. The open discussion session then focused on why, how and when animals are used in Parkinson’s research and, more generally, how animal use in scientific procedures is regulated in the UK. During a tour of the Unit led by early-career scientists Paul Dodson and Natalie Doig, the visitors were shown new results from work in animals on the structure and function of dopamine-releasing nerve cells, which are especially vulnerable in Parkinson’s. The visitors were also shown mouse models of Parkinson’s disease.

  • Unit

    This week, members of the Magill Group were playing hosts to Anezka Macey-Dare, who is currently studying for her A-Levels at Headington School, Oxford. Anezka has a keen interest in biomedical sciences and neurology, 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 Anezka’s visit, she viewed several stages of a typical experiment in the lab, and received training in neuroscience concepts. Anezka also gained ‘hands on’ experience with some anatomical and molecular approaches to studying brain function. The results from Anezka’s immunofluorescence labelling experiments were excellent!

     

  • Unit

    Our congratulations go to Unit D.Phil. student Ash Oswal for successfully defending his doctoral thesis, entitled “Functional and clinical relevance of oscillatory activity within cortico-basal-ganglia circuits in Parkinson’s disease”, in his viva voce examination on 3rd August 2015.

    Ash’s viva examiners were Professor Mark Woolrich (Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, University of Oxford) and Dr Bettina Pollok (Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and Medical Psychology, Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf).

    Ash was supervised by Professor Peter Brown at the Unit and by Dr Vladimir Litvak (Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London), and is a MRC Clinical Training Fellow.

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  • 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 is exploring the synaptic targets of pyramidal cells recorded and labelled in vitro in the human associational cerebral cortex using microscopic methods.

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