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Clear Vision Research at Brain Teaser 2022

Recently, I had the privilege to be a part of the organising team for our special neuroscience event, Brain Teaser 2022, to commemorate National Science Week at ANU. Brain Teaser is an exciting and engaging neuroscience-themed event hosted by students and researchers of the Eccles Institute of Neuroscience which allows the general public to engage with researchers at ANU.

We couldn’t host Brain Teaser in person in 2021 due to the unfolding of COVID, however this did not stop us! Taking to a virtual platform, we saw an enormous interest from the general public into the research being conducted by the Eccles team! This year, we decided to bring back Brain Teaser and to makes things better, we were fortunate enough to finally host this year’s Brain Teaser in-person!

This year’s Brain Teaser involved multiple neuroscience themed demonstrations, from how to test your hearing, to how to measure your reflexes and nerve speed, to measuring the electrical properties of neurons in the brain, to taking a photo of the back of your eye! There were several short informative talks from neuroscience researchers, loads of prizes to be won and a pretty awesome interactive kids’ corner filled with loads of fun colouring-in, model making and enjoyable creative competitions with amazing prizes for the little ones.

In addition to helping organise this awesome event, I also pioneered our very own Clear Vision Research booth, giving the public a glimpse into the anatomy of the eye, the concepts of visual neuroscience, and the importance of the research we do in the Clear Vision Research Lab. We even brought out our old-school Optical Coherence Tomography machine, giving the public a chance to take a look at their retinas lining the back of the eye! Our booth saw a staggering amount of interest from the public. I met passionate students, keen on pursuing a career in research, I met extremely intelligent kids who knew loads about the eye and how it works, and everyone was extremely fascinated by the OCT and fundus images I was taking. The second session of platform presentations showcased a talk by A/Prof Krisztina Valter on her fascinating work on red light therapy for retinal conditions. The last session saw our very own Dr. Joshua Chu Tan present an engaging glimpse into his research on how we could harness the molecular message of exercise to treat neurodegenerative disorders.

A huge enjoyment for me with hosting this event in person this year, was being able to appreciate the interest, engagement and overall passion for neuroscience from parents, kids, students and largely, the general public. The day itself was a big success and was a wonderful way for the researchers at ANU to come together and engage with the wider public. We saw easily a couple of hundred people walk through the exhibits and it was easy to say that everyone left smiling!

We really look forward to hosting Brainteaser next year and hope to see you all there!

Eye can’t wait…

Nick Bariesheff


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