Bristol Neuroscience Festival: 10th Anniversary Celebrations

11 October 2013, 10.00 AM - 11 October 2013, 10.00 AM

11 October 2013 (10am-6pm); 12 October 2013 (10am-6pm); Plenary lecture: 11 October 2013 (7-8.30pm)

BN 10th Anniversary Festival image


To see photos from this event, please visit the Flickr pages.


Bristol Neuroscience Film

A short film has been made about the Festival: Bristol Neurosicence Film [this link will take you to a YouTube video]


Free event


Main event:

Friday 11 October, 10am - 6pm, Wills Memorial Building

Saturday 12 October 2013, 10am-6pm, Wills Memorial Building

Plenary lecture:

Friday 11 October 2013, 7pm, Victoria Rooms



What is the festival about?

The Bristol Neuroscience Festival is the 10th Anniversary celebration of ‘all things neuroscience’ (including our work on many aspects related to the brain and nerves with psychologists, physiologists, biochemists, pharmacologists, engineers and so on).  Held at the University of Bristol’s iconic Will’s Memorial Building and Victoria Rooms, the festival will host a number of different free activities, with something for everyone, including:

Interactive exhibitions with hands-on activities and experiments for all ages (there will be robots, virtual and real experiments and a blow-up-brain, to name a few...).

Exhibits developed in collaboration with external partners including At-Bristol, Bristol City Council, BRACE, Glenside Hospital Museum, UWE and so on.

Places to learn about University of Bristol’s research and major discoveries (such as recent work into understanding how to reduce the severity of multiple sclerosis), whilst meeting and questioning the experts in 17 specialist areas.

A series of “From Brain to Behaviour: Insights from Bristol Neuroscientists” talks over the two days, covering a diverse range of engaging subjects, ranging from how our brains control movement to the effects of stress, drugs, the neural basis of learning and memory and brain diseases such as dementia.

A SciArt photographic exhibition, which will provide a space to relax and discuss our collection of 36 beautiful neuroscience images.  You will be able to knit-a-neurone, whilst listening to bespoke music, inspired by neuroscience.


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Who can I hear speak at the festival?

Talks for Primary School children  (Wills Memorial Building)

At-Bristol will be running their Boggling Brain Show for 8-12-year-olds.  Innovative demonstrations show what this complex organ is made from, before different areas of the brain are explored using a special MRI scanner.  Tickets can be reserved in the Wills Memorial Building on the day.

  • Friday at 10am, 12.30pm, 13.20 am and 14.10am
  • Saturday at 10.15am, 11.15am, 12.15pm and 14.15pm


Talks for Secondary School students and adults (Wills Memorial Building)

Friday 11 October 2013 (Wills Memorial Building)

10-11am: Multiple sclerosis, pregnancy and emotions

  • Specific immunotherapy of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases - David Wraith
  • The Pregnant Brain - Rebecca Pearson
  • Modifying how we see emotion in others to improve mental health - Marcus Munafo

11.15am-12.15pm: Pain and memory

  • Pain: what goes up should come down - Tony Pickering
  • Brain imaging of pain control - Jon Brooks
  • How neurons make memories - Jeremy Henley

12.30pm-1.30pm: Young brains

  • Protecting the newborn brain after lack of oxygen - Marianne Thoresen
  • The incredible flexibility of the young brain - Michael Ashby
  • Using frog tadpoles to understand how nervous systems work - Alan Roberts

1.45-2.45pm: Stimulants, vision and imaging

  • Caffeine makes you (a bit) faster, but not smarter - Peter Rogers
  • Active Vision: why the human eye is not like a camera - Iain Gilchrist
  • Neuroimaging: from brain scanner to brain surgery - Jade Thai

7pm: Plenary lecture

Please see What is the plenary lecture? for more information.


Saturday 12 October 2013 (Wills Memorial Building)

10-11am: Stress, obesity and blood pressure

  • Does the brain control stress or stress control the brain? - Stafford Lightman
  • Thanks mum- how maternal diet during pregnancy affects offspring brain mechanisms regulating body weight - Nina Balthasar
  • High blood pressure: lessons from the giraffe - Julian Paton

11.15am-12.15pm: Dementia and sleep

  • Alzheimer's disease: insights into the cause and strategies for therapies - Graham Collingridge
  • Improving memory in patients with dementia - Elizabeth Coulthard
  • Sleep?  Thoughts that go bump in the night - Matt Jones

12.30pm-1.30pm: Movement control and information

  • Neural control of  locomotion (provisional title) - Stephen Soffe
  • Mending Brains with Parkinson's disease - Alan Whone
  • Information in the brain - Conor Houghton

1.45-2.45pm: Brain disease: addiction and tumours

  • Heroin addiction: from molecule to coffin - Graeme Henderson
  • What can we learn about addiction from animals? - Emma Robinson
  • What's new in brain tumour research? - Kathreena Kurian

3-4pm: Depression, emotion and recognition

  • I know that face! How the brain recognises familiar stimuli - Clea Warburton
  • 'Optimistic' animals: a new measure of animal emotion - Mike Mendl
  • From Ancient Greeks to microchips: understanding and treating the illness of depression. The promise of deep brain stimulation - Andrea Malizia


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What is the plenary lecture?

There will be a public lecture given by Professor David Nutt called ‘A life in neuroscience: from brain mechanisms to public policy’.  David is local to Bristol and one of the UK's leading neuroscientists.  His talk will cover how he became a neuroscientist and his work on the harms associated with drugs of abuse.

This will be held on Friday 11 October 2013 from 7pm at the Victoria Rooms, Bristol.


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What else is happening?

There will be themed activities in the Wills Memorial Building Great Hall:

  • At-Bristol will be answering the question "Is your strength in your muscles or in your mind?" using an experiment on grip strength.
  • An electroencephalography (EEG) controlled racing car (use your brainwaves to make the cars go!).
  • The School of Experimental Psychology's outreach team (STEM University Department of the Year!) will have a range of award-winning (see for more details) games and hands-on activities related to the brain.
  • Careers information and help from Bristol Neuroscience Society (Undergraduat

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