National Youth Science Forum participants get the Eccles’ treatment

by Angela Nicoli

On the 19th of January, the Eccles Institute of Neuroscience at ANU, Canberra hosted 28 Year 12 students as part of this year’s National Youth Science Forum (NYSF).

The two-week NYSF Year 12 program gives final-year high school students from around the country a glimpse into what really goes on in the world of STEM.

This year’s cohort were treated to inspiring and intriguing talks from some of Canberra’s own neuroscientists, touching on such topics as why neuroscience is the best science to how exercise can level-up brain function.

Following the talks, participants embarked on an eye-opening tour of the neuroscience labs at the John Curtin School of Medical Research.

At four stations throughout the building, enthusiastic PhD students, postdocs and senior academics showcased a wide range of neuroscience research methods including electrophysiology, calcium imaging, behavioural studies, tissue staining and optical coherence tomography.

Participants also gained insight into sensory processing, disease diagnosis, therapeutics and neuromodulation, with hands-on opportunities and interactive demonstrations throughout.

At the end of the day, students chatted with tour guides, presenters and organisers over a relaxed afternoon tea.

From all accounts, it was a great success. Students walked away “truly inspired” and “motivated to further their studies in STEM,” with some even noting they “hope to apply here one day”.

It is safe to say we will be seeing some of these faces again in the near future.