The Visceral Mind Summer School

The Visceral Mind Summer School (in the School of Psychology, Bangor University) this September again attracted a large number of very highly qualified and motivated applicants. As ever, they came from all over the world, for the 40 available places. This year students travelled from Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, Ireland, Holland, Luxembourg, Norway, Canada, Israel, South Africa, and of course from across the UK.

The summer school, now almost a decade old, continues to be popular with ambitious young researchers and clinicians, keen to share in Bangor Psychology’s world leading expertise in the field of cognitive neuroscience. It was founded with the support of the James S McDonnell foundation and now runs with the support of Bangor’s School of Psychology. The primary aim of the course is to redress an inadequacy in neuroanatomical knowledge in young neuroscientists, and give students the opportunity to experience the working with directly with human brain specimens.

Course Director, Prof Oliver Turnbull, said: “This is now the 9th running of the Visceral Mind Summer School, bringing many excellent early career academics and clincians to Bangor to study neuroanatomy. Sharing this knowledge not only spreads scientific knowledge, but also puts the Psychology’s (and Bangor University’s) research excellence on the map”.

As well as contributions from several Bangor faculty, Prof Turnbull was also joined by visiting academics Dr Alan Watson (Cardiff University), Dr Nils Muhlert (Manchester University) and Dr Michel Thiebaut de Schotten ( L'Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Épinière, Paris), and Dr Kristen Koller (Cardiff University).

The course is structured to teach the functional neuroanatomy of the human brain, through demonstrations of the effects of brain lesions by meeting neurological patients, and the integration of these observations with clinical neuroimaging and neuroanatomy labs. The programme includes ‘hands-on’ brain anatomy sessions, patient case conferences, lectures/presentations including the Brain in 3D and special dissection techniques. It also includes the popular “Illustrating the Brain” sessions of drawing and labelling (including paintings) of a range of views of the whole brain, and brain sections.

“Visceral Mind has been a unique an inspirational experience for me. Having the possibility to see the brain, touch it, orienting in its anatomy, and see clinical patients helped me in learning neuroanatomy and having insights about it. I really appreciated the drawing classes also”. (Sara Basso Moro, University of Padova, Italy)

Over the past decade the course has attracted students from all the world’s continents (excluding Antarctica). It has enabled graduates of the programme to learn cutting edge research techniques and knowledge developed at Bangor to their home countries, to support research in these crucial neurological issues worldwide.

“Visceral Minds was an unforgettable course! Holding a real brain, dissecting and trying to find all the structures – so interesting! The course being so international was also a fantastic opportunity to share the experience and see what people are up to at all the parts of the world!” (Margarita Blazevica, University of Hull). 

The School is already looking forward to organising the 10th Visceral Mind Summer School in 2019. If you would like to be placed on a priority mailing list for 2019 please email visceralmind@bangor.ac.uk.

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Publication date: 18 September 2018