We are delighted to welcome Naomi Berry back to the Unit as a MRC-funded D.Phil. student in the Sharott Group.
After graduating from University College London in 2013 with a B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences, Naomi worked in London and then in the Unit as a Research Technician, providing support for a variety of neuroscience projects. Naomi’s thesis research will be supervised by Dr Andrew Sharott, and will use a combination of electrophysiological and anatomical techniques to define the roles played by different types of motor cortical neuron in the generation of pathological oscillations in Parkinson’s disease.
We are pleased to welcome Max Rothwell to the Unit. Max has joined Dr Andrew Sharott’s Group as an MRC-funded D.Phil. student, and will study closed-loop deep brain stimulation approaches for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Max has just successfully completed an M.Sci. in Neuroscience at the University of Nottingham, where his integrated research project, carried out in collaboration with Lilly UK, was focused on electrophysiological investigations of brain function.
We are pleased to welcome Maaike van Swieten to the Unit as an MRC-funded D.Phil. student in Professor Peter Magill’s Group.
As part of Maaike’s M.Sc. in Neuroscience & Cognition, she completed a research internship at the University of North Carolina, USA, where she used optogenetic manipulations, neuroanatomical tracing techniques and behavioural assays to elucidate the role of lateral hypothalamic neurons in reward processing and feeding. During Maaike’s D.Phil. thesis work in the Unit, she will use similar techniques, together with electrophysiological recordings in vivo, to define the mechanisms by which basal ganglia cells and circuits support purposeful behaviours.
We are pleased to welcome Benoit Duchet to the Unit. Benoit has joined Dr Rafal Bogacz’s Group as an MRC-funded D.Phil. student, and will study the basal ganglia and Parkinson’s disease.
Benoit has an “engineering diploma” from Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, France, and an M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from Imperial College London. He has been working in medical imaging R&D in Paris for the past few years.
We are delighted to welcome Luke Bryden back to the Unit as a Wellcome Trust-funded D.Phil. student in the Magill Group.
As part of Luke’s recent M.Sc. in Neuroscience studies at the University of Oxford, he completed a highly successful research project in the Unit under the supervision of Dr Emilie Syed and Professor Peter Magill. Luke’s new thesis research will be co-supervised by Dr Paul Dodson and Professor Magill, and will use an advanced combination of electrophysiology, anatomy, and optogenetics to define the roles played by midbrain dopaminergic neurons in behaviour.
The topic of the podcast is viruses - fighting them as well as harnessing them for use in science and medicine. Natalie and Peter discuss how they use modified viruses in their research to map out the connections of specific types of brain cell in health and disease.
We are pleased to welcome Dr Eric Tam to the Unit. Dr Tam joins Dr David Dupret’s Group as a visiting scientist to progress research on a BBSRC-funded grant awarded in collaboration with Professor David Bannerman (Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford) and Dr Stephen McHugh.
Eric received his Ph.D. in 2011 from the University of Nottingham, where he investigated the role of the hippocampus in appetitive conditioning and interval timing. After his Ph.D., Eric moved to the University of Oxford to work on the role of retinal photoreceptors in modulating recognition memory performance. During his time in the Unit, Eric will examine the role of dentate granule cells in hippocampal network activity in vivo.
We are pleased to welcome Leon Amadeus Steiner to the Unit. Leon joins Professor Peter Brown’s Group as a Visiting Research Fellow to progress work on a long-standing collaboration between Professor Brown in the Unit and Professor Andrea Kühn at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany. Leon began his research career as a medical student in 2013 in the Institute of Neurophysiology at the Charité, where he performed patch-clamp recordings from basal ganglia neurons in acutely-isolated brain slices. More recently, Leon has been working as part of the interdisciplinary research group “KFO 247: deep brain stimulation - mechanisms of action, cortex-basal ganglia physiology, therapy optimization” directed by Professor Kühn. In this role, Leon has begun to analyse human brain signals recorded using a chronically-implanted device. His long-term research interest is in chronic adaptive ‘deep brain stimulation’ (aDBS) as a therapy for movement disorders. During his time in the Unit, Leon will analyse movement-related changes in neuronal activity (local field potentials) recorded in and around the subthalamic nucleus of patients.
Over the first two weeks of August, the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit hosted 5 school pupils enrolled on an innovative work-experience placement scheme that was organised in partnership with the charity in2scienceUK.
The placement scheme hosted at the Unit was a first for Oxford, and was tailored for pupils from local state-funded schools to support their progress into university degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
During their time in the Unit, the pupils worked alongside Unit scientists and received personalised mentoring to gain a wide variety of practical experiences and learn more about key concepts and challenges in neuroscience and medical research. In a series of integrated workshops with in2scienceUK, the pupils also received guidance on university applications, wider information about STEM careers, and training in transferable skills. The pupils recorded their experiences and progress in blogs and images.
Unit Deputy Director Professor Peter Magill commented “We are delighted with the many successes of this inaugural scheme. Working with our partners at in2scienceUK, we have delivered a range of experiences that set an exciting precedent for high-impact engagement. Over the fortnight of activities, it was inspiring to see the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the pupils, their mentors, and the Unit as a whole.”
Unit Director Professor Peter Brown commented “Engaging local school pupils continues to be a priority for our thriving Outreach Programme, and it has been a real pleasure and privilege for the Unit to take this lead on widening access and participation in STEM.”
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.