Spatika Jayaram & Yasir Widatalla accepted as part of the BNA Scholars Programme

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Congratulations to Spatika Jayaram and Yasir Widatalla on being accepted as part of the BNA Scholars Programme.

The BNA Scholars Programme supports students and early career researchers from underrepresented ethnic groups to thrive in neuroscience, and to build a supportive community through networking opportunities, bursaries and mentorship.

Every year, the BNA offers seven places to the three-year program, which includes a broad range of bespoke career development opportunities provided by academic and commercial Supporters of the Programme, as well as free membership to the BNA, the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), funding opportunities, and more.

Spatika Jayaram

Spatika JayaramSpatika received her integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in biology from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali, India. She was supported by the INSPIRE Fellowship, and the GE STAR Scholarship, from the Institute of International Education. During her undergraduate degree, she worked at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India, to investigate resting-state functional connectivity patterns in Schizophrenia patients. She completed her final thesis project at the Indian Institute of Science working on learning and memory formation in the worm species, C. elegans. In 2022, she joined the University of Oxford as a recipient of the Felix Scholarship. She worked on projects investigating neuropharmacology and reward-learning, and preclinical neuroimaging and anxiety.

Spatika is currently a Gates-Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge, working on how the development of the prefrontal cortex gives rise to social behaviours. Her research interests span mood disorders, social behaviour and the moods of poetry. Beyond neuroscience, Spatika is passionate about writing and science outreach and established a nation-wide science magazine initiative between 10 institutes in India. She was also awarded an Outreach Grant by the Society for Experimental Biology, and has written for publications at Oxford and Cambridge.

Yasir Widatalla

Yasir WidatallaDr Yasir, a medical doctor, currently serves as a Research Assistant at the Dementia Platform UK, University of Cambridge. Originating from Sudan, he completed his medical degree at Al-Neelain University before being awarded the prestigious Chevening scholarship for the 2022/23 academic year. This scholarship facilitated his pursuit of an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience at UCL, where his research focused on the electrophysiology and behavioural patterns in mice during seizures and spreading depolarization.

Dr Yasir’s current research revolves around neuroimaging in dementia patients, utilizing a range of techniques including fMRI, EEG, PET, and MEG. Beyond his scientific endeavours, he is a passionate advocate for accessibility and inclusion within the neuroscience community, emphasizing the importance of academic access for individuals with disabilities. He has been involved in various initiatives promoting higher education opportunities for disabled individuals.

Looking ahead, Dr Yasir aims to undergo neurology training within the NHS, specializing in neurophysiology. He is also committed to bridging the gap between research and clinical application in neuroscience, planning to continue his work as a clinical researcher. This dual focus on clinical practice and research embodies his dedication to advancing the field of neuroscience and improving patient care.

Posted on 29/04/2024