SAVY 2019: Session 6, Day 4 – Biology of the Brain (Rising 3rd/4th)
Today was another great day in our Biology of the Brain classroom! After walking all over campus on a field trip to the Social Emotional Expertise Lab yesterday, we decided to give our legs a rest and spend the day learning in our classroom. After our daily group share, we moved into the general theme of today—how do researchers ‘see’ and study the brain? I showed the class pictures of my brain that had been taken in an MRI scanner, and we used these images as an opportunity to practice identifying sagittal, coronal and axial perspectives. After learning what the term ‘neuroimaging’ means, we examined four of the most common techniques that are used in both the clinical and research fields: EEG, PET, MRI and fMRI. Students watched videos demonstrating the experience of being in an MRI scanner and then viewed examples of different neuroimaging data (which included white matter, grey matter and CSF). Continuing our discussion of what different types data ‘looks like’, students completed an activity in their Lab Journals where they illustrated the observed differences between various neuroimaging techniques.
The highlight of our afternoon was definitely a guest lecture by Steven Errington, a neuroscience graduate student from Vanderbilt working in the Schall Lab. Steven spoke about his experience working with non-human primates, as well as how animal research has helped us learn more about the brain. He brought in examples of the protective clothing he needs to wear when safely working with the monkeys, and one of our students got the opportunity to ‘scrub in’ for a demonstration! We also look a virtual tour of a primate research facility at the University of Oxford—the students really enjoyed this, and the link can be found here: http://www.labanimaltour.org/oxford.
I was very impressed and proud of how respectful the class was with their attention and questions regarding this topic—tomorrow we will have a facilitated ethical discussion of the pros and cons of completing animal research.
Friday is our last day of class and an opportunity for the students to showcase all they’ve learned and accomplished this week! I’m sad our class time is coming to an end, but so excited to meet all of you at the open house!