This image is from the institute. http://www.mni.mcgill.ca/frontpage/
Discovery Day in Health Sciences
This December, as in the past, we were able to have six of our senior Biology students attend the Montreal Neurological Institute’s Discovery Day in Health Sciences, produced by the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and Pfizer Canada.
These students were treated to lectures from the Hall of Fame Laureates about the original and the most current methods of mapping the brain. Then, breaking up into small hands-on workshops, the students extracted DNA, handled a human brain, watched neurons grow, dissected the retina from a chick’s eye, experienced smells and tastes and how they are used for diagnostics, checked out MRI and PET scanners and had lessons in Physiotherapy for stroke victims.
In the afternoon, there was a career panel of professionals on hand to answer a myriad of questions about different career pathways. Doctors, research scientists, Pziser executives, graduate students, nurses, social workers and technicians all gave their time to explain to students what they had studied, how they had chosen their pathway and the amount of time they spend writing grant proposals and reading the latest literature.
The students left well-fed and full of new ideas. They learned how approachable these professionals are and that the pathway to a career is not usually straight. The important thing is to study what they love because that will motivate them to do well. It is also important to take experiences when they come, as these will guide you. The professionals are always impressed with the interest and insights demonstrated by our students. This was a marvelous opportunity.
In March, we will continue our association with the MNI through Brain Awareness Week. Every year they send graduate students to the senior classes to show them the anatomy of the brain and to demonstrate how the brain works through electrical impulses and neurotransmitters. Students are always full of questions and the session culminates with the opportunity to touch a sheep’s brain.
The Senior Biology classes have also had a series of guest lectures given by Mr. Andrew Manning. He is a researcher in Biotechnology and pharmaceutical production. He donates one day a month to talk about varying topics such as the philosophy of science and the process of getting a drug on the market from soup to nuts. He is a very enthusiastic lecturer and engages the students with homework that gets them to think outside the box.
Anna Kay B. Walsh