Biology and Psychology A Level students at Truro School were given a captivating insight into the topic of neuroscience last week when they were given the rare opportunity to see a real brain dissection.
The morning and afternoon ‘Brain Day’ seminars were all part of a visit from Dr Guy Sutton, Director of Medical Biology Interactive and Honorary (Consultant) Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham Medical School.
In the morning, biology students learnt how the brain works and what happens when it becomes damaged. The class also embarked upon the latest developments in neuroscience including brain imaging and behavioural genetics.
With intrigue high and gloves dispensed, Dr Sutton then began the dissection of a sheep brain, talking students step-by-step through each part of the organ and its function. Opportunities to hold and closely inspect the brain as the dissection progressed were plenty.
In the afternoon, Dr Sutton led a second dissection seminar with A Level Psychology students focussing on neurotransmitter activity at the synapse, the effects of drugs on the brain, the future of bionic arms and the fight or flight response.
Dr Sutton said:
“The aim of Brain Day is to push students beyond the A Level syllabus and give them a flavour of university study, and to provide exciting examples of ground-breaking modern day research. My work with schools is intended to inspire students who are considering studying medicine, neuroscience, psychology and biology and to enrich their knowledge of brain science.”
“Brain Day is also a relatively unique opportunity to experience a brain dissection. I alternate traditional lecture-based approaches covering theories and their applications with interactive sessions using computer-based animations and dissections, during which the students can get hands-on.”
Following the afternoon seminar, Mollie said:
“I have learnt that Psychology is far more than just the study of mind and behaviour, it is actually a biological process that physically happens. Although the brain has so many parts, they are all interconnected and work together.”
The Brain Day seminar was all part of Truro School’s drive for the provision of careers in Medical Science following over 6% of last year’s A Level leavers going on to study in the field at university.
Miss Sarah Finnegan, Head of Biology at Truro School, finished by saying:
“We were delighted and privileged to welcome Dr Sutton to the school. His hands-on approach to teaching neuroscience really captured the imagination of our students and gave them an insight into the progress that has been made in, what remains to this day, a developing field of science.”
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