On Monday 4th April Riverside Senior High School had the pleasure of welcoming guest Speaker Dr Guy Sutton; Director of Medical Biology Interactive & Honorary Consultant Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham Medical School.
Dr Sutton spent two days in the Arts centre leading interactive seminars with our Psychology and Biology students. Dr Sutton provided an overview of neuroanatomy and brain function as well as addressing contemporary issues in neuroscience. He also demonstrated what happens when the brain is damaged and degenerates, and used up to date real life clinical examples. These seminars had a significant curriculum focus, but also took our students beyond the classroom and stretched their understanding of the ethical and moral issues facing neurogenetics in the real world.
IB students particularly liked the sheep brain dissection they participated in. Students were amazed at the similarities in the human and animal brain structures. This was likely a once in a lifetime experience for our students and they really took advantage of holding and investigating the sheep brain. The GCSE students had the opportunity the next day to also get up close and interact with a whole sheep brain and the dissected brain from the previous day, again making comparisons to the life sized human brain model.
On Monday evening Dr Sutton provided a lecture for Riverside parents and the wider school community. Here he addressed the astounding advances in our understanding of the workings of the human brain and the nervous system over the past two decades. He awed the audience with extracts from the most recent findings in neuroscience at the end of 2015, as well as developments at the beginning of 2016, keeping us on the cusp of the most exciting, relevant and rapidly developing fields of research.
Over the past week since the seminars, students have articulated a deeper, as well as more personal interest and understanding of the course topics. Students have also expressed feelings of renewed enthusiasm and motivation for their studies, revision and exam preparation. Brain day was a huge success, and is something Riverside aims to continue to build on in the future.
Below are some student quotes and images from the Brain Day events on Monday, 4th and Tuesday, 5th April at Riverside’s Arts Centre.
“Brain day was a great experience. Not only was the content interesting and captivating, Dr Sutton’s enthusiasm and charisma made both the evening talk and the year 10/11 talk fascinating. If I ever had a doubt that neuroscience and psychology were boring, they were forgotten after these seminars! I never knew how far science of the brain had come, and how many people it was helping. This talk was truly inspiring!!” Year 10 student.
“The lecture was absolutely extraordinary. Dr Guy Sutton explained and went through everything in such detail and with so much passion. Dr Sutton talked a lot about optogenetics, Alzheimer’s disease and bionic limbs that you can control just by thinking about a certain action. He also explained the effects that drugs and accidents have on our brain, how they can change you. My favourite part was touching the sheep brain, we got the opportunity to touch and observe a sheep brain and at the same time compare it to a human brain. He showed us the difference between the Arbor vitae (Latin for Tree of life) of the sheep brain and the human brain. I also really liked when he talked about mental illnesses (for example: OCD) and how they are connected to the brain and what parts of the brain are injured when you have an illness like that.” Year 10 student.
“It was really obvious how passionate Dr Sutton was about neuroscience and that’s what made the presentations so interesting. He actually made me want to know more about what he was talking about. It was a privilege to have him here.” Year 11 student
“The most interesting part was learning about the criminal brain. Holding the sheep brain was an exhilarating experience. Overall this lecture exceeded my expectations.“ Year 10 student.
“Brain day was a great experience. As a student who is interested in how people work, this seminar was exceedingly helpful in terms of forging the link between the physical side and the psychological side of humans. Dr. Sutton presented his information in a very engaging but also professional manner. Overall it was an experience that I will never forget!” Year 13 student.
“Brain Day was like a full-on university module condensed into a single day- we had managed to learn about neurons, the effects of drugs on the brain, schizophrenia, the criminal mind…and we got to see a sheep brain dissection! Brilliant.” Year 13 student
Riverside graduates have been accepted to some of the most prestigious universities around the world.