Unit Open Day 2024

Unit Open Day 2024

Photo of Camille Lasbareilles (seated) and Ioana Grigoras (standing) with members of the Unit’s Patient and Public Advisory Group.

Unit early-career researchers Camille Lasbareilles and Ioana Grigoras demonstrate transcranial magnetic stimulation to members of the Unit’s Patient and Public Advisory Group.

On 14th March, the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit once again welcomed stakeholders onsite for its annual Open Day.

In the morning, the Unit opened its doors to pupils and teachers from local state-funded schools as they visited to learn more about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and medical research. During their visits, pupils talked informally to Unit staff and students about key concepts and challenges in brain research, as well as careers in STEM. Special emphasis was also placed on giving pupils the opportunity to see real working instruments and laboratories. The visit started with a group introductory session, where pupils viewed the “The Symphony of the Brain” film showcasing the Unit’s work, followed by a discussion around the use of animals in research. After that, the pupils rotated in small groups through different hands-on activities that were led by the Unit’s early-career researchers and highlighted some of the Unit’s key research themes. These activities included a lab-based session exploring anatomical and electrophysiological studies of the brain using rodents, a demonstration of human brain stimulation, a computer game simulating patterns of brain activity, and a live demonstration of a brain-computer interface. The visit concluded with a wrap-up session capturing feedback.

In the afternoon, the Unit welcomed members of its Patient and Public Advisory Group (PPAG). After lunch with some of the Unit’s early-career researchers, PPAG members were offered a tour of activities and facilities in which they could see some ongoing research for themselves. Each of the activities was integrated with a lively discussion session, stimulating further conversations about Unit research in the clinic and at the lab bench. The visit concluded with refreshments, a final Q & A session, and a chance for the PPAG to give their feedback to the Unit team.

The Open Day received highly positive feedback from students, teachers, and PPAG members:

Comments from the schools included “This was excellent! Great combination of whole group talk introduction, smaller group activities, chance to ask questions, chance to hear about pathways into research.”

Comments from PPAG members included “Thanks for a great afternoon! Fantastic presentations, and a lovely team.” and “I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. I felt very well welcomed. Everyone was easy to talk to in the relaxed environment you created.”

Unit Director Professor Peter Magill commented “Another great Open Day at the MRC BNDU. Visitors and Unit hosts were clearly excited to be involved, and the conversations were rewarding for all. Effective public engagement often requires teamwork and diverse contributions, and it was great to see thirty Unit members come together to organise and deliver the Open Day.”


The Unit’s Open Day was one of many engaging events held at the University of Oxford and further afield during Brain Awareness Week 2024.