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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Neuroscience Project news: Brain Camp comes to ‘Brum’ and extends its global reach


More than 50 enthusiastic participants converged on Birmingham on 1st June for the latest instalment of ‘Inspiring excellence in neuroscience education’, the training-the-trainers programme from the RCPsych’s Gatsby/Wellcome Neuroscience Project.

The event drew people from across the West Midlands and beyond and we were excited to welcome our first international participant to Brain Camp in the shape of Professor Gerry Craigen of the University of Toronto, Canada.


Neuroscience event - Dr Cuttle and Prof Gerry Craigen


A packed programme featured presentations on cutting-edge neuroscience research from Dr Mandy Johnstone (University of Edinburgh) and Dr David Cousins (Newcastle University).


Dr Johnstone, a Clinical Research Fellow and Liaison Psychiatrist, held the room transfixed as she described how skin biopsies from patients with schizophrenia can be turned into cerebral organoids and grown in vitro as a model to study brain development.


Later, Clinician Scientist Dr Cousins showed some fascinating imaging studies that he and ‘Team Lithium’ have been involved in to investigate the distribution of lithium in the brain.


A key part of the day was a series of interactive sessions to illustrate engaging approaches to the teaching and learning of neuroscience.


Dr Cousins ran an extremely popular masterclass on ‘Teaching Imaging Techniques’, and this was followed by practical workshops on ‘Talking to your Patient about the Brain’, ‘Making your Journal Club a Success Story’, and the ever-popular ‘Build your Brain’ hands-on neuroanatomy with Play Doh, which everyone found hugely enjoyable.


Neuroscience conference group work


Active participation is a hallmark of Brain Camps and everyone was eagerly involved throughout the day.


There was universal enthusiasm for the presentations and the ample time allowed for discussion, the sharing of ideas and good practice was thoroughly appreciated.




After taking part in Brain Camp, people felt much more in touch with modern neuroscience research and much more confident in their ability to teach neuroscience to trainees. Brain Camp, and the Neuroscience Project, will continue to ‘inspire excellence in neuroscience education’.


Our thanks to Angela Appleby, RCPsych West Midlands Division Manager, for her help in putting the event together.


Watch out for announcements on further Brain Camp opportunities around the UK later in 2018.



'Brain Camp': Supporting a high-quality educational experience in neuroscience for trainee psychiatrists. For all enquiries, please contact


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