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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Latest discoveries in neuroscience on show at Southampton’s Institute for Life Sciences

Published: 13 May 2016
Chrysia-Maria Pegasiou & Sarmi Sri

Pioneering research underway by young scientists at the University of Southampton is taking new collaborative approaches to understanding the human brain and the nervous system.

More than 30 postgraduate research students of neuroscience have been showcasing their work, discussing their progress and networking with other scientists at a display of posters at the Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS). They are all members of the interdisciplinary Southampton Neurosciences Group (SoNG), who share a common interest in studying the brain and neural function and take part in collaborative research and projects. Researchers in SoNG come from Biological Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences as well as disciplines including Psychology, Engineering and Computer Science to consider the issues.

Final year PhD students Chrysia-Maria Pegasiou and Sarmi Sri, who are researching aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, both presented posters at the event. Chrysia-Maria, funded by the IfLS and Gerald Kerkut Trust, is examining how neurons connect with each other and form memories, Sarmi is looking at early stages of the disease in mice through behavioural tests, electrophysiology and molecular biology in a project funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK and the University’s Centre for Biological Sciences. Both chose postgraduate study at Southampton because of the opportunity to research these particular topics under experienced neuroscientists Professor Hugh Perry and Dr Mariana Vargas-Caballero.

“By working together with neurosurgeons at the Wessex Neurological Centre, we are able to use human tissue from patients who have had brain operations. This allows me to study human neurones and understand what is happening in the brain as part of my PhD,” says Chrysia-Maria who hopes to continue in research after graduating from Southampton.

Professor Vincent O’Connor from Biological Sciences and Dr Delphine Boche from Medicine have led the thriving research group for the last four years; new co-chairs Dr Tracey Newman from Medicine and Dr Matt Garner from Psychology and Medicine will be taking SoNG forward as it celebrates its 14th anniversary

“SoNG brings together over 100 scientists and clinicians from across the University to deliver cutting edge research into brain function and disease. Our basic and applied neuroscience is well-supported by funding from industry and government research councils. Moving forwards our challenge is to keep up with the latest advances in laboratory, imaging, experimental and clinical brain research, and to maximise the impact of SoNG research,” says Matt.

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