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Second Year Project

Announcement 2nd Year Project

 

Students of the PhD program ‘Systems Neuroscience’ are giving a bilingual workshop about neuroscience entitled ‘Nervenkitzel – Neurowissenschaften hautnah’ (‘thrills – in touch with neuroscience’) at the IdeenExpo2019 in Hannover (20th and 21st June 2019). The aim is to inform pupils of the 11th-13th grade (16-18 years) about the anatomy and functions of the nervous system in a playful and tangible way. In addition, the pupils get the chance to learn something about an altered or impaired nervous system, as this is the case in some diseases or after alcohol consumption.

Firstly, the PhD students will briefly introduce their academic backgrounds and the PhD program. Afterwards, the structure of the 90 minutes lasting workshop is explained to the pupils who are then divided into five groups for different hands-on activities, each station takes 15 minutes in time (Figure 1). Within the workshop stations the pupils get in touch with different topics explained by the PhD students. The station ‘touch the brain’ gives the pupils the chance to learn something about the anatomy of the human brain. Additionally, they can compare various animal brain preparations (e.g., elephant, horse, cattle, cat, dog, and mouse) and spot differences between them. Additionally, pupils are made aware of how diseases change the brain’s function. Another station is called ‘Alkoho(H)l’, here they can experience the feeling of being drunk. By wearing some Drunk Boosters™ goggles to imitate this condition they are asked to perform some daily tasks. Moreover, they can experience by themselves how external stimuli (temperature, pressure and vision) are integrated from the peripheral to the central nervous system at the station ‘Feel it!’, which deals with perception of senses. The more clinical-related station called ‘how to measure thinking’ introduces pupils into the field of neuropsychology. Afterwards, they perform different standardised cognitive experiments for testing their cognitive skills, short-term memory and flexibility of thinking. These examinations are used in clinics for diagnosis of nervous diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Last but not least, the pupils are invited to analyse mice brains by microscopy. Therefore, they have the chance to stain brain slices by their own and observe the different structures by microscopy. In addition, slices from infected brains are provided to compare them with healthy brains.

The interactive neuroscience workshop held by young scientists shall inspire and arouse the pupil’s interest in neuroscience. Moreover, it gives the PhD students the chance to get in touch with pupils, give them an insight into the diversity of neuroscience and of the PhD student’s work in the laboratory.

 

Figure 1: schedule of our workshop at the IdeenExpo2019

 

Figure 2: schedule of our workshop at the IdeenExpo 2019

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