Science Fest – Edinburgh Neuroscience Expert Talk and Q and A

Understanding the brain and mental health – evolving mental health research
Wed 11 Oct
Free 7.30pm

Watch our Edinburgh Neuroscience interactive panel discussion about the evolving methods for studying mental health where we will explore this complex and multifaceted topic, discussing the varying ways it is being researched and the perspective of lived experience.

The event will begin with brief presentations from researchers covering aspects of mental health research, from the outdated notions that one’s personality could be inferred from bumps and indents on one’s skull (phrenology), to modern brain imaging and genetics research, and keeping all this relevant by engaging with those with lived experience of mental illness. We will then open up the discussion and invite questions from the audience.

Edinburgh Neuroscience is a network connecting all researchers involved in neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry or neurology research across the University of Edinburgh. One of its founding purposes has been to provide opportunities for researchers to engage with the public, share their enthusiasm and insights, inspire curiosity about the brain and mind, and in turn learn which questions and topics matter to the public.

Edinburgh Neuroscience Panel members

Liana Romaniuk

A consultant and senior clinical lecturer in child and adolescent psychiatry.
Liana’s research focuses on applying computational methods to neuroimaging datasets for the purposes of developing a more mechanistic understanding of mental illness, particularly during the prodromal phase. She is especially interested in understanding how flexible thinking and personal autonomy can be maintained and bolstered despite illness. Liana hopes this will better guide the development of new treatments, and aid young people in making individual choices during their recoveries.

David Price

David has spent his career trying to understand our brains better. He studied medicine before undertaking a PhD in Neuroscience at Oxford University on how vision develops after birth. David then went on to work at the University of California at Berkeley, USA, delving into how genes control brain development. For the last 30 years he has worked at Edinburgh University where his research on humans and other animals, helps us understand how brains grow and the biological origins of brain diversity. David also have a long-standing interest in the history of neuroscience, particularly the influence of the phrenologists working about 200 years ago at the dawn of our understanding.

Pippa Thomson

Pippa is a statistical geneticist interested in using DNA sequence variation to understand the causes of mental illness and how stress affects people in very different ways. She has always had an interest in behaviour and, after completing a PhD working on the chicken genome project, she moved to Edinburgh where her research focuses on understanding depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Pippa uses data from the large population-based cohorts, such as Generation Scotland and UK Biobank, as well as collaborating with psychiatrists to understand how mental illness runs in families. She hopes that better understanding the biological processes that are disrupted in mental illness will lead to better and wider treatment options.

Iona Beange

Dr Iona Beange has worked in Public Involvment and Engagement for over 15 years, across a broad range of topics. She is currently working with two groups of researchers a) A Wellcome Trust-funded project exploring anti-depressants and b) Epic Think Learn, which produces resources for parents/teachers of children with neurodevelopmental conditions.

This event starts at 7.30pm and is aimed at over 16s. The event is free and ticketed.

See the full programme of the Stirling Science Festival.


Event Info

Cost - £FREE

Date - 11 Oct 2023

Doors - 7:00 pm



Jail Wynd, Stirling, FK8 1DE

+44 (0)1786 27 4000


Tolbooth Tues-Sat 10am-5pm

Science Fest – Edinburgh Neuroscience Expert Talk and Q and A - Gallery

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