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Archive for the 'Brain Sciences' Category

Open City Docs Fest: After War

ucyow3c4 July 2014

pencil-icon  Written by Matthew Green

The centenary of World War One and the withdrawal from Afghanistan have inspired multiple events exploring the dilemmas of returning soldiers, but few have delivered the combination of raw emotional punch and intellectual rigour that was on display at the After War panel at the Open City Docs Fest on 22 June.

A soldier in AfghanistanJake Wood, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving as an Army reservist in Afghanistan, showed dramatic footage from his helmet-camera that brought home the chaotic reality of combat.

He spoke movingly about the sense of dislocation he felt on returning to his job in a City investment bank, a theme echoed by Kevin Weaver, a war photographer who has battled the symptoms of PTSD since being shot and wounded while covering the war in Bosnia.

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UCL Neuroscience Symposium 2014: an overview

ucyow3c2 July 2014

pencil-iconWritten by Jack Moore, BSc student at St Mary’s University

With over 800 people attending and almost 200 posters being presented, there was a real sense of excitement around the halls of the Institute of Education (IoE) where the 5th annual UCL Neuroscience symposium was held on 19 June.

James Rothman

Professor James Rothman

With so many people at the event, and so much being presented, it was a great opportunity to discover what other researchers have been doing and share thoughts on the latest developments. Over the years the event has only got bigger, with the entry queue this year winding all the way up the stairs of the IoE.

The day began with last year’s Nobel Prize winner, Professor James Rothman (Yale University), giving a thought-provoking opening keynote speech on how calcium controls neurotransmitter release to a packed auditorium of both students and staff. As Professor Rothman is a Professorial Research Associate in the UCL Institute of Neurology, it seemed a fitting way to begin a symposium in which such a diverse and successful domain get a chance to come together and learn about what is being achieved by different institutes and laboratories.

After the applause for Professor Rothman had quietened down, everyone finally had a chance to see all 180 posters on offer at the event. Dr Martine Groen, who was on the panel deciding this year’s Laboratory Poster Prize, told me the winning poster would have to be one that was nice to read and walk through, making clear what the research question is and why it is interesting.

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Professional Services Conference

uclzean24 June 2014

The inaugural Professional Services Conference took place on Monday, 16 June. The afternoon consisted of a series of presentations and panel discussions followed by an awards ceremony for staff and teams nominated by their colleagues across the university.

Rex Knight, Vice-Provost (Operations), introduced the conference as a “celebration of work going on across the university”. Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education) said: “it’s all too easy for academic events to take precedent. This is an opportunity to say thank you to the unsung aspects of the institution.”

Empowered - Emma Todd and Alice Chilver (UCL Bartlett)

Empowered – Emma Todd and Alice Chilver (UCL Bartlett)

Over the past decade, there has been a 20% increase in staff and a 16% increase in student numbers and Knight continued “thanks to your extraordinary professionalism all would not be as it is without what you do”.

There were then presentations from Emma Todd and Alice Chilver (UCL Bartlett), co-founders of Astrea, the professional women’s network at UCL. Dr. Debbie Challis spoke about the exhibition, A Fusion of Worlds, at the Petrie Museum and funded by UCL Grand Challenges.

Finally, Bob Carey discussed the Strategic Leadership Programme and Steve Rowalt and Kate Cheney delivered their presentation on the UCL Masterplan 2011, which has overseen the current transformation of the Cruciform Hub – @ucl_crucitwit.

The Professional Services Awards consisted of five categories with nominations coming from a diverse range of staff across the university. Emma Todd, Strategic Communications Manager and Alice Chilver, Business Development Manager at the UCL Bartlett, won the ‘Empowered… confident and enabling’ award for their work in setting up Astrea. (more…)

Pain, pleasure and the capacity to relate

uclzean30 May 2014

Melencolia I, 1514 by Albrecht Dürer

Melencolia I, 1514 by Albrecht Dürer

My first UCL Festival of the Arts lecture began with Tim Matthews (UCL French) and Juliet Mitchell (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences) discussing the relationship between art and psychoanalysis.

Mitchell, a well-known figure in literary criticism and psychoanalysis, has written on sexual difference, hysteria and siblings. Matthews’s work currently focuses on the work of Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti.

The talk was introduced as how psychoanalysis uses art and myth in order to find representations of psychic issues. ‘Art is about reaching out to others’, said Matthews, ‘its subjectivity relates to people who aren’t there.’ Psychoanalysis occupies a similar realm it is a client ‘reaching out to people who are not there, the events are in the past’.

Both psychoanalysis and art and indeed life, according to Mitchell, deal with unconscious purposes. ‘We live largely through unconscious processes’, psychoanalysis seeks to find out what those unconscious processes are and art attempts to represent them.

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