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And finally…symposium posters and prizes

By news editor, on 6 July 2012

In the fourth and final blog post of a series about the UCL Neuroscience Symposium 2012, held on Friday 29 June, Post-doctoral Research Scientists Fiona Kerr and Oyinkan Adesakin (UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing and UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) highlight the  poster session and various prize winners in words and video.

Poster sessions
Early in your scientific career it can be difficult to find ways of discussing your research, which is often a work in progress, with a wider scientific audience.

Poster sessions provide this opportunity, enabling young scientists to discuss their ideas and obtain feedback on their work without the nerve-racking experience of an oral presentation.

As a poster presenter at this year’s UCL Neuroscience Symposium, I found it to be a particularly engaging experience, obtaining useful advice and being able to discuss my work freely within the safety of the world-renowned UCL Neuroscience community.

The poster session covered a wide-range of neuroscience topics, from the level of the nerve cell to animal behaviour and diseases of the nervous system, showcasing the breadth and depth of neuroscience studied at UCL alone.

Carl Zeiss PhD Poster prize
A particular highlight of the poster session was speaking to Bethan Kilpatrick, proud winner of the Carl Zeiss PhD poster prize in only the first year of her PhD studies.

Bethan’s research aims to find out why Gaucher’s disease (GD), a lysosomal storage disorder, and Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disorder, are genetically linked. Using cells obtained from skin biopsies, Bethan’s work has shown that there is a change in the way in which calcium is stored in cells from patients with GD compared to people of the same age who don’t have the disease.

Since changes in the calcium content of cells has also been reported in many neurodegenerative diseases, Bethan’s work might suggest that other components of the cell that are regulated by calcium may be involved in causing both Gaucher’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

To find out more about Bethan’s work, her inspiration for becoming a scientist and hopes for the future please see the short interview below. Congratulations Bethan!

UCL Neuroscience Domain Early Career Prize winners

Two awards were given this year to recognise outstanding work published in the past year by early career UCL neuroscientists.

Dr Thomas Akam got the junior scientist award for his PhD work with Professor Dimitri Kullman (both UCL Institute of Neurology) on the role of oscillatory dynamics in the hippocampus (the part of the brain involved in memory).  Below is a short interview with Thomas with more about his work and future career goals.

Advanced Scientist Award
The advanced scientist award was received jointly by Dr Lorenzo Fabrizi, a postdoctoral research scientist and Dr Rebeccah Slater, a Wellcome Trust career Development Fellow (both UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology).

As a relatively new mother myself, I found their work on processes that enable babies to discriminate pain from touch particularly interesting. In their studies, they found that while full term babies can distinguish between pain and touch, premature babies respond generically to the two sensations, suggesting that there is a developmental response to pain. Below is a short interview with the scientists explaining the significance of their study.

Images: (1) Various poster presenters at the symposium. (2) Lorenzo Fabrizi, joint winner of the advanced scientist award, next to Madeleine Verriotis.

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