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Coronavirus testing in the UK as part of the government’s plan in tackling the pandemic has garnered both praise and criticism throughout the past several months. Introduced in early April was a plan to open three ‘lighthouse laboratories’ to expand coronavirus testing and enable testing of up to 100,000 samples per day by the end of April. The UK Biocentre in Milton Keynes was rapidly converted into a COVID-19 testing laboratory, built from the ground up in two weeks, and filled to the brim with hundreds of scientists who have volunteered to help process samples in the newly opened 24/7 facility. I share my experiences working in the coronavirus testing ‘megalab’ in Milton Keynes, and insights into how life has changed as I went from staying at home, to processing testing swabs through 12-hour day and night shifts.
Vivian is a second-year DPhil student in Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine who normally studies the cross-talk between the immune system, and cancer. Shortly after lockdown, she joined the UK Biocentre as a volunteer laboratory support worker to aide in processing of coronavirus samples in Milton Keynes.
Many people use browser extensions such as ‘Newsfeed Eradicator’ to make Facebook less distracting. In this talk, I will present work published at the CHI’20 conference, where we studied how removing the newsfeed or adding goal reminders on Facebook affect behaviour and perceived control. Spoiler alert: both interventions helped people stay on task and avoid distraction, with large — and distinct — effects on behaviour.
Ulrik recently defended his DPhil thesis in Computer Science from the University of Oxford. He was awarded the EPSRC Doctoral Prize in 2019 for his thesis research, and has won multiple prizes for research communication and impact, including the 2017 DOMUS Prize from Linacre College, and the 2020 MPLS Impact Awards. Ulrik previously worked in London as a producer for the world's largest philosophy and music festival, HowTheLightGetsIn.
Kevan AC Martin
Of all brain structures, the neocortex (80% of our brain volume) is arguably the most critical to what makes us human and allows us to create the complex societies in which we live. This is an apparent paradox, because from mouse to man the local circuits in the 2mm thick sheet of the neocortex appear to be very similar, as captured in the term ‘canonical circuits’. A resolution lies in considering the overall physical organisation of the cortical sheet, because this defines a coherent logic of what we call it’s ‘behavioral architecture’. By mapping the whole matrix, we can uncover a coherent and conceptually simple picture of how the interrelationships of evolution, development, and brain organization combine to allow effective behaviors to evolve and to be expressed.
Kevan A.C. Martin is a founding Director of the Institute of Neuroinformatics, Zurich, Switzerland, Emeritus Professor of Systems Neurophysiology at the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), and he is a former EP Abraham Cephalosporin JRF. His research is on the structure and function of the neocortex. With Rodney Douglas, he developed the concepts of ‘canonical circuits’ and ‘behavioral architecture’ to describe the common principles underlying the circuits and computations that are found across the cortical sheet of all land mammals. One of his abiding fascinations is with the physical basis of thought and performance. His own physical performances are expressed as a member of 4-Brain, a formation skydiving team that competes in Switzerland, and riding a 1936 Ariel Square Four motorcycle.