All posts by Roy

What you cannot learn from a book…

..poster_snakkmedenforsker.you can learn by signing up for a research project. The medical faculty is organizing a poster session, where scientists and students can meet and discuss the opportunities master- and forskerlinkjestudents have for participating in current research.

When: september 24th, 15.00-17.00
Where: MH-building

Our group will also be represented (poster board 33). And while we will provide some food for thought, the faculty makes sure you don’t have to process that on an empty stomach. Free pizza and drinks!

Neuroscience summerschool

11878915_1609042226037301_3450247122961369945_oLorenzo and Kamilla with their peers from other Norwegian universities at the NRSN Summer School in Neuroscience. This gathering was organised by the University of Oslo. A new generation of neuroscientists is ready to storm the gates!

Conference: Nordic Neuroscience 2015

11416297_1583112101963647_4440891344461918158_oWith three posters in our luggage we travelled to the first biennial conference of the Nordic Neuroscience Society. Being organised at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, the residence of the 2014 Nobel laureates May-Britt and Edvard Moser, expectations for this three day conference were high.

posters
Hard work in the weeks (and months) preceding the conference paid off. Lorenzo, Kamilla and Angel had nice posters to present.

Even though it was a small conference, with neuroscientists from Scandinavia, the Baltic states and Finland, the programme was packed. After the first keynote speech by the top class Belgian scientist Christine Broeckhoven, the conference really took off. Plenary lectures were followed by parallel symposium sessions, in subject ranging from hippocampal microcircuits to acute brain injury and neurogenesis.

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Inter-group communications during lunch

Poster sessions in the hall of the Elektro-building provided much needed time to get acquainted with other neuroscientists and discuss each others research, while drinking an espresso made by the strategically placed baristas. It was there we could show this neuroscience community what we had been doing so far and what our next moves would be in our contribution to unravel the neurobiology of memory.

Not only the lunches, poster sessions and coincidentally bumping into each other in the hallways were nice ways to get to know each other. The copious dinners in Banksalen and To Tårn, as well as the many local cafes proved to be good settings to mingle and talk about international and cultural differences, linguistics and ambitious plans. Continue reading Conference: Nordic Neuroscience 2015

Scrambling eggs like a neuroscientist

DSC_9764 (425x640)One of the more exciting parts of science is that you get to improvise every once in a while. When you are developing a method, or getting used to new equipment for example. We had been using a train/delay generator and a stimulus isolator to electroplate our platinum tetrodes, but we felt these instruments were slightly overqualified for the job and just as underused. At the same time we tried to find out what the best way was to make tetrode tracks (and more specifically the end points) in the histology of the rat brain visible. We thought that the electroplating equipment could be useful for that, but to find out, we had to bring a box of eggs into the lab.

A well established method to find the end point of electrodes in brain tissue, is to run a short current through the electrode. The brain matter heats up around the tip of the electrode and the proteins in it denature, which is visible as a denser spot during histological evaluation. Of course we went through the literature to see what duration and current other neuroscientists use (higher current and longer duration denature more tissue, we aimed for a spot with a diameter not much bigger than 50 micrometer). Once we had some references, we had to try iDSC_9763 (640x424)t ourselves. On eggs.

Apparently psychologists who performed lesion studies over half a century ago, did pilot studies on egg whites first. Since egg whites behave the same way as brain tissue when exposed to heat, this is the perfect method to see the size of the lesions as a result of current and duration, which can then be applied to the real lesion study. So on a smaller scale we did the same, connecting the train generator and stimulus isolator to one of our precious microdrives that had a tetrode dipped into egg white.

For more, see this excellent post.

Kamilla & The Naughty Tetrodes

10872831_1502097510065107_1923780840117225435_oFrom time to time each research team needs to distract itself from the everyday activities of science. One day of december, instead of cluster cutting, histology and looking for cells, we joined the other staff of the Faculty of Medicine for a traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner. Apart from networking with scientists in other research groups, this hearty and inebriating julebord provided the right informal atmosphere to let go of work and relax instead. It was in this setting that a new and instantly infamous supergroup saw the light of day: Kamilla and the naughty Tetrodes.