Students from across the world take part in 3rd Annual Visceral Mind Summer School at Bangor University

The Visceral Mind Summer School, running in the School of Psychology at Bangor University, attracted over 140 highly qualified applicants for the 40 available places. The summer school, now in its 3rd year, has proven popular with ambitious young researchers keen to share in Bangor Psychology’s world leading expertise in the field of cognitive neuroscience. The primary aim of the course, which is supported by the James S. McDonnell Foundation, is to redress an inadequacy of neuroanatomical knowledge in young neuroscientists, caused at least partially, by the limited availability of human brain tissue for providing this training to students outside the US.

Course Director Prof Bob Rafal FLSW said: “There is no substitute for the life-changing experience of examining the human brain, and no better way to learn, by both sight and touch, the three-dimensional brain.”

Prof Rafal was joined by 2 visiting academics, Dr C. Harker Rhodes, MD, PhD From the Department of Neuropathology, Dartmouth Medical School, US and Dr Antoni VALERO-CABRÉ, M.D, Ph.D. from the Hôpital de la Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris, France and Dept. Anatomy and Neurowbiology, Boston University, US who both assistend with the teaching on the programme.

The course is structured to teach the functional neuroanatomy of the human brain through demonstrations of the effects of brain lesions in neurological patients, and the integration of these observations with clinical neuroimaging and neuroanatomy labs. Students have the opportunity to learn more about a broad range of neurological syndromes including some that are very rare and these include Motor deficits (eg Parkinson’s disease), Sensory deficits, Split brain syndrome, Visual deficits and Aphasia.

Over the past 3 years this course has attracted 120 students from 20 countries across the world including Argentina, Cuba, Italy, Lithuania, South Africa and Singapore with students from developing countries being given priority in the place allocation system. This has enabled graduates of the programme to take back the cutting edge research techniques and knowledge developed at Bangor to their countries to support research in these crucial neurological issues worldwide.

Haike van Stralen, of Utrecht University in The Netherlands said:

“The Visceral Mind Summer School was exactly what I hoped for, perhaps even more. Recently I started my PhD and noticed some 'gaps' in my knowledge, especially regarding neuro-anatomy. This course definitely filled these gaps. Although the week is quite intense, a lot information in a short amount of time, the course is so well organised that the atmosphere is relaxed and there is also time to get to know your fellow PhD students or post-docs and discuss or collaborate on research.”

Publication date: 10 September 2012