Brain Health Day

When: Saturday 18 March 2023, 11am-4pm
Where: Manchester Central Library (see map)
Cost: Entry to the venue and all talks are free of charge.

Want to know more about your brain and how it works? Keen to learn about leading neuroscience research happening here in Manchester? Interested in discovering more about stroke, dementia, brain tumours and more?

Brain Health Day will showcase research happening at the Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre (GJBRC) in Manchester. You’ll be able to attend a series of talks from leading academics, explore science activity stands, play games, and much more! Ask questions, meet the researchers who work behind the scenes – and even sign up to participate in research yourself.

This event is suitable for the science-curious of any age and with any level of knowledge, and is not to be missed! Come for the whole day, or pop in and out for specific talks and to visit the stands. You’ll need to register for a free ticket to attend a talk, as space for talks is limited (please see the ‘Free talks’ section below for registration links).

If you make a booking but are then unable to attend, we ask that you cancel your ticket by emailing or calling 07825 027780, so we can make the place available to someone else.

Highlight event

Lemn SissayAt 12:45pm, esteemed poet Lemn Sissay OBE will give a live performance of his poem, Find Me. You can just pop into the library on the day – no ticket required!

Science discovery stands

Visit our hands-on discovery stalls to participate in activities, talk to our experts and ask questions you’ve always wanted to know the answers to! A flavour of what will be available is below – find even more on the day!

These stands will be available all day – no need to book.

Brain games

How good is your memory? How quickly can you think? Have a go at some brain games and learn why cognitive assessments are used after people have had a stroke.

Clot Busters!

Play our giant kerplunk-style game and find out about the different drugs used to break up stroke-causing clots in the brain.

What does a brain look like? What do different parts of your brain do?

Build a model of a brain, learning what each part of it does. Use a microscope to find out more about your brain and what brain cells look like!

The life of a brain tumour

Discover the science of brain tumours. Explore how they’re detected and treated, and the research going on to improve the chances of many living with brain tumours.

What can a blood sample tell us about a stroke?

Meet the Stroke-IMPaCT lab scientists and learn how blood samples help us understand how the body responds to a stroke. 


Volunteer Heart Heroes from the Innovation Agency will provide free blood pressure checks and pulse tests. High blood pressure and conditions such as atrial fibrillation are risk factors for strokes, and, detected early, can help prevention. Learn more about Heart Heroes.

Brain scans: what do they look like? How do they work?

Talk to our brain imaging experts to discover a how brain scans work, and how they are a vital tool in research.

Sign up to participate in research!

Keen to hear about opportunities to participate in research? Whether you have a neurological condition or not, there are plenty of opportunities on offer! Learn how to register your interest.

Free talks

There’ll be free talks taking place throughout the day. Some talks require you to register your place in the audience by booking a free ticket through Eventbrite.

11am-11:30am: Memory, mind and mood after stroke - is the immune system to blame when things go wrong?

Craig SmithSpeaker: Professor Craig Smith, consultant in stroke medicine
How to register: Book your place (Eventbrite)

Stroke-IMPaCT is a pioneering study looking at why and how up to one-third of stroke survivors develop problems with cognition (memory, learning and thinking abilities).

Hear Professor Craig Smith, study lead at Salford Hospital, speak about why this work is so important for the fields of stroke and dementia. Craig will explain how piecing together information from blood samples, medical history, and brain scans can help answer vital questions that could lead to treatments to help improve the lives of people who have had strokes.

Have your eyes opened to the commitment and dedication of the many wonderful stroke survivors who make this research possible.

12pm-12:30pm: Q&A – From patient to research involvement: why our voices matter

Speakers: Ann and Wendy, patient and research advocates
How to register: Book your place (Eventbrite)

Join Wendy and Ann for an insightful session to learn about why being involved in research matters to them.

After learning that atrial fibrillation may have contributed to her stroke, Wendy now travels around the north-west as a Heart Hero with the Innovation Agency, helping to test others as part of a national cardiovascular disease prevention programme. Wendy is also a member of trial steering groups, in which she helps provide advice and perspective on stroke research projects led by Professor Craig Smith.

Ann is the Honorary Lay Lead for Patient Carer and Public Involvement at the Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre. Ann became interested and eventually involved in research following a stroke in 2011. She felt she received excellent treatment at the hospital stage and took part in a project as a participant, as she wanted to give something back. She found a whole new and exciting world that she was lucky enough to be able to contribute to in a very small way.

12:45pm: Poetry performance by Lemn Sissay OBE

Lemn SissayHow to register: No booking required

Esteemed poet Lemn Sissay OBE will give a live performance of his poem, Find Me.

1:15-1:45pm: The Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre: Who we are and where we're going

Stuart Allan Alisha PatelSpeakers: Alisha Patel and Professor Stuart Allan
How to register: Book your place (Eventbrite)

Led by Alisha Patel (Centre Manager) and Professor Stuart Allan (Centre Co-Director), this talk will give you an overview of the wide-ranging research taking place at the Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre (GJBRC), and share how we’re putting our mission to deliver patient-driven, patient-led research into action.

Learn how discoveries made by Professor Allan and other GJBRC researchers have already had an impact on patients, and how we plan to continue to make discoveries that change lives.

2pm-2:30pm: The life of a brain tumour: How does a glioma grow?

Saam YoushaniSpeaker: Mr Saam Youshani, neurosurgeon
How to register: Book your place (Eventbrite)

What is a brain tumour? How does a brain tumour start and spread inside the brain? Why are they so hard to treat? What are the current treatment options? How do we study them in the lab?

Come along and hear a talk by Mr Saam Youshani, a neurosurgeon from Salford Royal Hospital who will cover these topics. Most importantly, he will discuss the research happening right here in Manchester in the fight against brain tumours.

2:45-3:15pm: Small arteries, big consequences

Harry PritchardSpeaker: Dr Harry Pritchard, researcher in cardiovascular sciences
How to register: Book your place (Eventbrite)

The Ancient Egyptians knew about dementia, but over 3,500 years later we still do not have a full understanding of the syndrome and how best to treat it.

Dr Harry Pritchard, a Research Fellow in the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, will describe the impact of a reduced blood flow to the brain in dementia. He will describe work currently ongoing at Manchester to study how blood vessels, smaller than a width of hair, can become damaged and potentially lead to dementia onset.

3:30-4pm: More than just pretty pictures: exploring the physics inside the brain

Hamied HaroonSpeaker: Dr Hamied Haroon, neuroimaging researcher
How to register: Book your place (Eventbrite)

MRI scanners look like a doughnut and can be a bit claustrophobic and noisy to go in, right? But they give us exquisitely detailed images of the brain and body in action; images that look like actual cut slices even though a blade has gone nowhere near the person.

MR (magnetic resonance) images are made by an interplay of strong magnetic fields, radiofrequency energy and the water in our bodies. Dr Hamied Haroon (a neuroimaging researcher) will speak about how the physics of MRI means that it not only gives us stunning insights on the anatomy of the living body, but it can also offer exciting ways to measure our structure, function and metabolism, and help us understand what happens in health, ageing and diseases like dementia.

Come and hear about how Manchester is at the cutting edge of MR imaging technology!

Accessibility information

Manchester Central Library is an accessible venue with ramps, a wheelchair lift and disabled toilets. If you have any specific queries about the accessibility of the venue, please contact the library by calling 0161 234 1983.

Contact us

If you’d like to find out more about the Brain Health Day, please get in touch.



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