The Malta Neuroscience Network at the University of Malta is organising a Brain Awareness Week between the 14th and 19th of March and is inviting secondary school students (Forms 3 to 5) and students at Higher Secondary Schools and Sixth Forms for a tour of 5 different labs at the University of Malta, Msida Campus.
The tours will be held on Tuesday 15 and Thursday 17 March and are targeted for students interested in health sciences, medicine, neuroscience, cognitive science, biomedical engineering and ICT.
The Brain: What do we know about this complex organ?
This tour is aimed to give a brief introduction on how the brain works, explain what happens when things go wrong, demonstrate systems that are used to record brain activity, describe how this information is used to learn more about the brain and show how technology can assist people with severe motor impairments.
The tour consists of visits to five different laboratories, with each lab visit taking about half an hour.
Department of Physiology and Biochemistry
Looking inside our brain
The brain uses more energy than any other organ of the body and relies almost exclusively on moment-to-moment delivery of glucose and oxygen through the blood. We make use of nerve cells that glow when laser light is directed from a very
special and powerful microscope. This allows us to study how the brain works and what
happens when things go bad such as in a stroke.
Department of Communications Therapy
Processing of sounds in the brain: Auditory processing
The term auditory processing refers to how the brain perceives and interprets sound information. This is what enables us to listen and essentially understand what is being said. Individuals with an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) hear sound normally but the hearing centres and circuits of the brain don’t correctly process incoming information. This can affect understanding, especially in challenging listening situations such as in the presence of other distracting sound, or when listening to complex information or instructions. Students will be given the opportunity to listen to sound stimuli used as part of an assessment of auditory processing - Dichotic Listening.
Department of Systems and Control Engineering & Center for Biomedical Cybernetics
Brain Computer Interface Systems
Can you imagine controlling a computer without a mouse, keyboard or touch screen? Brain computer interface (BCI) systems offer that possibility as the control is done directly using brain signals. Such systems are not only suitable for people with severe mobility impairments but are nowadays also being used in the gaming industry. This lab tour will give a brief introduction to brain computer interface systems, explaining and demonstrating how brain signals are recorded and showing various examples of current BCIs.
Department of Cognitive Science
Cognitive Science: Techniques for exploring mind and brain
The Cognitive Science Department conducts research with human participants using a variety of tasks and techniques. Our goal is to better understand how the human mind works. Our laboratory facilities include testing booths, sound and vision equipment, eye trackers and EEG recording. Typically, participants perform simple tasks on computers or tablets while we monitor their behaviour both explicitly (e.g., speed and accuracy of responses) and implicitly (e.g., eye movement and brain wave patterns).
Department of Intelligent Computer Systems
Computational Modeling of the Visual System
The visual system of the brain has an impressive ability to recognize objects under different geometrical transformations as well as lighting conditions. The study of the visual system has been an active research field in brain research for more than half a century. In the fields of robotics and computer vision, we attempt to simulate certain properties of the visual system of the brain to obtain effective and efficient computational techniques. This visit will demonstrate the brain-inspired approach called COSFIRE and show how it is useful in different applications. This work is a further step in understanding how visual information is processed in the brain and how information on pixel intensities is converted into information about objects.
Schools interested book for a tour of the labs can send an email.