And now for something different… by Nienke Pannekoek

By Nienke Pannekoek (Leiden University)

Having studied the brain for several years using MRI and by pictures in study books, getting the opportunity to take part in a brain dissection was something I had been hoping to experience for a long time.

Coenie Hattingh, my friend and neuroanatomist, was kind enough to lead the dissection. My colleague Steven van der Werff and I had his full attention and we were able to ask questions throughout. To see a real brain was so exciting!

Coenie explained everything he did in detail. Step by step we dissected the cortex, subcortical structures and the cerebellum. Tracts between various regions were exposed, functions explained, and connections indicated. We even got to do some dissecting ourselves, which is something I had never thought I would do.

As a neuroscientist I have a real passion for the brain. This experience was definitely a highlight of my EUSARNAD exchange and I am grateful that Coenie has shared his extensive knowledge with me. I would recommend this to anyone!