The mission of our peer mentoring group “Brainfood” is to connect young UZH researchers who are investigating the human brain using various neuroimaging methods and help them expand their knowledge. To tailor the contents and the topics of Brainfood’s meetings to the needs and interests of our members, we encourage you to reach out to us with your questions and suggestions for topics and speakers. Based on our vision for a peer mentoring group, we offer the following:
Creating and providing a database of expertise.
We will create a database with contact details and fields of expertise of young experts from the local neuroimaging community (PhD and postdoc researchers) who are interested in exchange and willing to support their peers. We believe that gathering information about methods and toolboxes as well as analytical approaches and linking it to scientists who are versed in these methods will be a valuable resource for young academics. If neuroimaging researchers have a specific question on a method, toolbox, or analytical approach, they can contact us and we will connect the person seeking advice to another early career UZH researcher with more experience in the field, willing to support other peers. Occasionally, it might occur that there will be no expert in the group on a certain topic. In such cases, we as organizers will try to make suggestions about resources and experts to the best of our knowledge.
Providing a platform for networking and peer feedback.
We will provide opportunities for early career researchers in the field of neuroimaging to meet their peers and strengthen the connections in the local community. Even though we are working with similar data, we often do not know our peers from the local community, thus we are not able to profit from each other’s knowledge and practical skills. We will offer a physical and virtual (if needed) space for gathering neuroimaging researchers by organizing regular lunch seminars “Food for Thought”. During these meetings, we will encourage participants to not only get to know each other but to share their successes and struggles and contribute with potential solutions to others’ difficulties. Ideally, this will ignite discussions, where peers receive and provide advice based on own knowledge and know-how. Additionally, we see these meetings as a great opportunity for young scientists to practice important talks and presentations in front of peers on different academic levels with knowledge on the methodology.
Learning opportunities with peers and advanced mentors.
We will expand the knowledge of our members on state-of-the-art methods in the field of non-invasive human neuroimaging research. We will organize hands-on workshops and invite guest speakers to provide insights into established techniques, new and helpful toolboxes, and cutting-edge research approaches from which the local community can profit. Ultimately our hope is that the members of the peer mentoring group will acquire or enhance their practical skills and be inspired to transfer elements of the new analytical or study conduction-related approaches to their personal projects after attending the workshops.
In September, Dr. David Willinger joined the Brainfood community for a hands-on workshop about dynamic causal imaging (DCM), a method to analyze effective connectivity within specific brain networks. The Brainfood peer mentoring group learned what DCM and specifically resting state DCM is and how it can be applied in their own data.
The Brainfood peer mentoring group has welcomed Prof. Andreas Keil to give a talk on “Individual differences, the human brain, and mental health: The role of a control area in addressing the reliability paradox”. The early career neuroscientists attending learned that many classical tasks might not be able to tap into individual differences or the causes thereof. Prof. Keil proposed that computational modelling and latent variables gained from these models can be used to bridge the gap.
Members are encouraged to actively participate in the events and provide feedback in the form of surveys and discussion rounds which will help us to tailor the program and the content we will offer to the needs of the community.
As your Brainfood team, we are looking forward to meeting you and your peers and helping you expand your knowledge and network! For more details about us, you can check out our UZH pages:
We are immensely thankful to our advisory board members – Prof. Nora Raschle and Prof. Alexis Hervais-Adelman, who supported our application and continue contributing to our cause with priceless guidance.
We are grateful to the graduate campus for recognizing the need for such a group and the benefit for the local community that our initiative will bring.