Neuroscience Day

9 05 2017

I alway enjoy Neuroscience Day (nice format, the pleasant Arboretum atmosphere, on tap food and caffeine …), and these days seeing how my colleagues’ work has progressed over the years is part of it (Who’s starting up a new lab in earnest? And of the established researchers, who works by drilling down deeper and deeper into a single phenemenon? Who instead is always moving in new directions?).

FullSizeRender-7The plenary by Gail Johnson was too molecular for me (and a section on inducing strokes in mice contained the terrible line “Strokes just don’t seem to affect them. Mice don’t really need their brains” — to laughter, appallingly, from the audience — bringing back memories of the cat talk from two years ago).  But still, overall it was a good day: the speaker’s vivid account of the highs and lows of a 20+ year research programme, and all the many people involved (one being our very own Craig Bailey), was warm, generous and a nice illustration of the way science so often works; many of the students gave great talks; and Lindsey presented a good poster, and nobly looked after Maria’s too.

New ways to scare hens

9 05 2017

20170509_084443In the quest to understand and improve hen welfare, every now and then we have to scare them (though we do this as seldom and as briefly as possible). Recently this has been to record their startle reflexes, but on the horizon, it’s part of Misha‘s new planned study to assess whether, like mink, hens show signs of boredom in non-enriched conditions.  He suspects these might do it…


Congratulations to new student Michelle

9 05 2017

Michelle Lavery, who joins the lab as a PhD student next week, passed her MSc last week! (A relief as the timing is horribly tight…)

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Measuring the heart rate of mice via their feet

9 05 2017

Aimee has been trying for ages to piece together and get working our old, somewhat abandoned Mouse Specifics equipment, but with help of new electrodes and good tech support from the company, success!!! She’s going to use this to see whether “social buffering” effects occur in mice, such that mice with familiar companions are less stressed by challenging situations.

My amazing research!

9 05 2017

They’re SO nice that I will send them not only all my future papers, but also quite a lot of money, too.

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Paper accepted!

8 05 2017

Andrea’s 3rd paper (or maybe 4th, I lose track as some were from her undergraduate work). In this one, she assessed which forms of mink stereotypic behaviour co-occur or seem to be mutually exclusive, and also which develop into each other (or never do), to  work out an objective taxonomy for the different forms.

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SONA so blah

7 05 2017

I did not enjoy SONA on Friday, for the ridiculous reason that I slept so badly the night before that the 90 minute drive to St. Catherine’s was frightening; I could barely construct a sentence once I’d got there; and after a covert nap, I just set off for home again soon after lunch so that I could have breaks if driving seemed dangerous.

It wasn’t a complete waste of time though – Elena was there, the first time I’d seen her since Mexico, as was Craig; it was good hanging out with Lindsey; I met some nice grad students from McMaster and Western; and it did force Maria and I to produce a rather lovely poster:

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