University of Nottingham Research Showcase

Sometimes running PubhD can be tough, it isn’t all playing with whiteboards and getting the next round in. Last wednesday was one of those times. The University of Nottingham was holding it’s annual showcase of research at which students use posters to summarise their ideas and provoke questions. It reminded me of our regular monthly PubhD events and so I thought I’d pay a visit.

I had to take a day off work to spend a sunny afternoon in the leafy surrounds of Nottingham University. As I said, sometimes running PubhD can be tough. After a quick refreshing drink on the banks of the boating lake, the rest of the afternoon was spent looking at research posters and chatting to the students.

There were two main styles; the visually interesting which provoked you to ask questions, and the information heavy…which also provoked you to ask questions. Here are a selection of some of my favourites (click the images to embiggen):

Louise Kettle - Politics and International Relations

Louise Kettle – Politics and International Relations

Beili Shao - Clinical Sciences

Beili Shao – Clinical Sciences

Chris Gaffney - Life Sciences & Medicine

Chris Gaffney – Life Sciences & Medicine

There were over 50 finalists and there simply wasn’t enough time to speak to everyone – the above is just a small sample of the outstanding work on show. So, I’ll just leave you with the overall winner, who was very much in the “give a lot of information to provoke questions” category:

Kamaljit Moirangthem - Biosciences

Kamaljit Moirangthem – Biosciences

The showcase was followed by a keynote speech by Simon Singh who was very kind enough to give PubhD and Nottingham Skeptics a big 20 feet tall plug.

Can you Explain your PhD in the Pub?

If you’re not familiar with Simon’s work, there aren’t many people who work harder to promote science and critical thought, or to fight pseudoscience in all its forms. You can learn more about his work at


PubhD #4: A Neuroscience Special

Neuron matrix

Neuron matrix – from Wikimedia Commons. Click image for more details.

The event on April 16 will be a bit different. We’re calling it a “Neuroscience Special”.

Our normal format is to have three speakers from completely different academic areas tell us about their PhDs (in exchange, we provide a friendly audience and free beer!). In April, we will still have three speakers from different disciplines – but they all work in the same department. They work in a multidisciplinary neuroscience department.

So, we will hear talks from three speakers, with different academic backgrounds, that are all working in the same laboratory and contributing to the same project.

Noah, the lab lead, will also provide us with an introduction to the project.

The speakers are:

  • Noah Russell leads the multidisciplinary Neurophotonics lab at the University of Nottingham, who are developing a novel system, a Simple Living Artificial Brain (The SLAB), in order to understand fundamental aspects of information processing in the brain. Noah will provide us with a short introduction to the research programme, which will give context to the three main speakers.
  • Alex Johnstone (Engineering) is a third year PhD student in the Neurophotonics lab. He is developing microfluidic technologies for the SLAB system that house cultured neuronal cells, and deliver vital nutrients and signalling molecules to them.
  • Nitzan Herzog (Neuroscientist) is a second year PhD student in the Neurophotonics lab. His project involves recording and stimulating neurons grown in a dish to induce learning and produce simple behaviours in the SLAB system.
  • Jamie Williams (Linguistics) is a second year PhD student in the Neurophotonics lab. He works on applying concepts and models from theoretical linguistics to the development of a conceptual framework for the SLAB system that links neurobiological signals to behavioural and cognitive processes.


Wednesday April 16, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.


The Vat and Fiddle pub (in the Golding’s Room),
12 Queen’s Bridge Road