Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

On Monday 13 March, the Oxford University Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB) invited local primary schools to visit the control room of its Ultra High Field MRI scanner as part of Brain Awareness Week.

Over the course of the day, 150 local school children got the opportunity to see the MRI scanner in action and learn more about how the brain works during interactive sessions.

The school children watched demonstrations of the kind of research that is carried out in this part of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. FMRIB researchers volunteered to take turns in the scanner to complete finger tapping and visual tasks. The students saw the researchers' brain activation appear on the screen and saw for themselves the functional regions associated with these tasks.

The audience then got the chance to devise their own experiment. This involved predicting which brain areas would be active and light up on the screen when certain tasks were undertaken in the scanner. During the day, the audiences asked the volunteers to do a range of tasks including imagining eating their favourite foods, visualising what was in their fridge, singing a favourite song and going to their 'happy place'.

The interactive sessions engaged the children in thinking about how the brain works and how it can change due to ageing and disease. Researchers demonstrated a range of topics including how neurons communicate, the brain's blood supply and using MRI to understand pain in babies. Highlights included the children acting as neurons and sending impulses to each other with neurotransmitters, and exploring a 3D printed model of mother and child with brain regions highlighted with coloured LEDs.

We would like to thank the following for volunteering their time to making the day a success: Ivan Alvarez, Holly Bridge, Matthew Cherukara, Stuart Clare, Naiara Demnitz, Nadine Graedel, Sezgi Goksan, Ainslie Johnstone, Emma Lawrence, Joseph Nour, Caitlin O'Brien, David Parker, Michael Sanders, Tom Smejka and Joseph Woods.

Similar stories

Celebrating International Women's Day

Event

100 years since women were admitted as full members of the University of Oxford, women now hold vital posts at all levels of this institution.

Researcher publishes children's book of the brain

Integrative Neuroimaging

Betina Ip, a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, has written a book for children: The Usborne Book of the Brain

The brain understands relationships in the same way as it understands how to move in space

Integrative Neuroimaging Research

Researchers have developed a new framework that binds together the way the brain forms maps of space to the way the brain understands relationships of any kind.

Grant extension for neuroimaging centre WIN

Integrative Neuroimaging Research

The Wellcome Trust has awarded a two-year extension to the grant for our Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. This means that WIN is funded through to April 2024.