The brain in action: An international graduate school

The BiomotionLab is now part of an International Graduate School which involves 12 Canadian researchers, 12 German researchers, and – most importantly – doctoral students from all contributing laboratories. Researchers and students in Canada come from York, Western, and Queen’s. The two German universities involved are the Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, and the Philipps University in Marburg.

The overarching topic is “The Brain in Action”, that is, how the brain generates motor behaviour and how actions are controlled by sensory input. The questions which our students work on range from the study of hand-eye coordination during grasping, the coordination of visual and vestibular information for sensory-motor control of posture and gait, to the control of eye movements in natural environments. Students on either side of the Atlantic will have the opportunity to spend dedicated research time in a partner lab in the respective other country.

A central element of the organizational structure are annual retreats at alternating locations. Last week, the first was held in Wildbad Kreuth, an academic resort in the mountains South of Munich. Against the beautiful scenery of the Bavarian Alps and treated with fantastic weather the meeting was packed with interesting student presentations and seminars given my established researchers in the field. Students could form new networks and plan new collaborations with peers and faculty alike, many of which are likely to play a major role in their career development. The meeting was a great success and we all look forward to the 2015 retreat which will take place in Ontario.

The International Research and Training Group “The Brain in Action” is funded by the NSERC CREATE program on the Canadian side and the German Research Foundation in Germany. More information, including information how to apply to the program, can be found here.