From Russia with Love

07 June 2013
Presented by Hannah Critchlow.

From Russia with Love! Reporting from Lake Baikal in Siberia. In this special episode, I visit Russia for a conference and from there, we'll be finding out how Russian neuroscience is getting a collosal injection of cash from the government, how nicotene switches off attention in the teenage brain, plus, I visited the Banya, a Russian sauna, to be whipped with birch leaves.....

In this episode

00:00 - Settling into Siberia

From Irkutsk neuroscientists took a holiday to get over the jetlag and relax before the science began.

Settling into Siberia
with Andy Irving, Dundee, Mark Cunningham, Newcastle, Roz Langston, Dundee, Jamie Ainge, St Andrews, Monica Tapia, Madrid, Hannah Critchlow, Cambridge

From Irkutsk, a little group of neuroscientists took a little holiday, to spend two days to get over the jetlag and relax before the conference began. Speedboats, hikes in the mountain, freshly caught fish suppers and campfires were the perfect way to relax.

03:57 - Why Russia?

Why would two Scottish based neuroscientists organise a conference in Siberia? What are the Russian strengths in science?

Why Russia?
with Dr Andrew Irving and Dr Andre Rozov, Dundee University

I briefly spoke with two of the conference organisers, Dr Andy Irving and Dr Andre Rozov both from Dundee University, Scotland. First up, I asked why they organised this conference specifically in Irkutsk? And what are the Russian strengths in science?

08:15 - A Russian Research Renaissance?

How Russian neuroscience research is getting a collosal injection of cash from the government.

A Russian Research Renaissance?
with Dr Marat Minlebaev, Marseille, France and Kazan, Russia

Russia has a history of strong science, but diminishing funding for the sciences over the last few decades has caused many researchers to move to other parts of the world. What can the Russian government do to try to tempt the scientists back and reverse the brain drain? I sat in the Siberian sunshine with one young Russian scientist to discuss this issue.

16:59 - Your First and Last Memories

Dr Rosamund Langston, Dundee University, taking a twist with neuroscience, looking at infants to better understand brain diseases in old age

Your First and Last Memories
with Dr Rosamund Langston, Dundee University

Dr Rosamund Langston, Dundee University, takes a twist with neuroscience, looking at infants to gain a better understand brain diseases in old age. 

25:12 - Nicotine affecting Attention

Moving from infant brain development to the teenage brain, with a shock finding on how nicotine in cigarettes affects attention.

Nicotine affecting Attention
with Dr Natalia Goriounova, Marseille, France and St Petersburg, Russia

Moving from infant brain development to the teenage brain, with a shock finding on how nicotine in cigarettes has detrimental effects on attention years down the line.....

39:19 - Studying the Human Brain in a Dish

Are human and rodent brains similar? Can you take live human brain tissue, slice it, and study it in the dish to find out?

Studying the Human Brain in a Dish
with Dr Mark Cunningham, Newcastle University

So, earlier in the episode we heard from Rosamund and Natalia on their findings in the rat brain. But are human and rodent brains similar? Do the results really translate? I stepped out to in the sun with another speaker at the conference to find out.....

51:09 - Would you Return to Russia?

Natalia spoke earlier about growing up and studying in St Petersburg, and her current work in Europe. Would she ever return to Russia?

Would you Return to Russia?
with Dr Natalia Goriounova, Marseille, France

We return to Natalia, who spoke earlier about growing up and studying in St Petersburg, and her current work in Europe. I started by asking if she would ever consider returning to research in Russia?

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