Adult mental health, genetics, neuropschiatry

Summer school in brain disorders research

I’m a second year PhD student in Neuroscience and Neurotechnologies at Italian Institute of Technology in Genova (Italy).

I applied to the summer school because my research work is based on brain disorders so I was keen to follow a course about neuropsychiatric diseases. In particular, I found it very interesting, considering the presence of lessons focused on different pathologies, which would have increased my knowledge in this field.

For this reason, I was really happy to have the opportunity to participate in this wonderful course. As soon as I arrived, I was surprised by the beauty of the centre and the atmosphere inside it. I discovered a special place with beautiful people and so I was already very enthusiastic even before starting.

In this summer school we dealt with different topics, in order to acquire a broader view on the various neuropsychiatric diseases, and we had an approach with the techniques used for studies such as sequencing and neuroimaging. In addition to readings and explanations in the neuropsychiatric field we also had the opportunity to visit the various laboratories, understanding the use of the latest generation tools for example MAGNETOM, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging, (MRI) system. The laboratories were really beautiful and wide.

Particularly, in the first day we dedicated our time to sequencing and neuroimaging, carrying out very interesting lessons and we were divided into small groups to visit the laboratories. On the other hand, the second day we tackled various topics, including neurodevelopmental disorders, bipolar disorders, movement disorders, neuroimaging on drug abuse and the genome wide association (GWAS). These lessons have been very constructive and have increased my ideas on these topics covered. On the third day, we dealt with topics such as epigenetics and we did a tour to see neuroimaging techniques. The tour was really very exciting. On the last day, however, we focused on the ethical aspects of research work and other aspects of the genetics of neuropsychiatric diseases. Then, there were warm greetings.

So, I can say that this experience at the Cardiff University MRC Centre was really great. I had the opportunity to meet great professors, who inspired me and stimulated my ideas and creativity. In addition to this, in this course I had the opportunity to interact with students from both the medical field and other scientific fields in order to broaden my horizons and open my mind to the different approaches in which the diseases are treated and studied. The organisation was excellent thanks to Catrin Hopkins and Professor George Kirov. I found a stimulating and joyful place, where I was involved, and enriched myself.

I will always bring these days in Cardiff with me and they will be an important stimulus for my career. I absolutely recommend this school and I consider it one of the best. I thank everyone for giving me beautiful emotions and the possibility to have this unforgettable experience.

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