Review:Technical “brain hacks”, pain mechanisms and tumour therapies

BRAIN DAY 2021 offered exciting insights into the work of SFB 874

From basic research to therapy – this was the motto of the annual BRAIN DAY organised by the Collaborative Research Centre 874 which took place for the tenth time on 29 September 2021. In order to offer its guests interesting insights into the world of neuroscience even during the Corona pandemic, the SFB information day took place for the first time as an online event only. About 200 people followed the invitation and were given an opportunity to discover the latest research results of the Bochum neuroscientists through lectures and a varied framework programme.

Exchange between experts, interested parties and affected persons

“I am very pleased that we are meeting again here today after the pandemic-related break in 2020,” Prof. Dr. Denise Manahan-Vaughan, spokesperson of SFB 874, welcomed all the guests to the screens.

On the one hand, our team is interested in researching how we experience and understand with all our senses – on the other hand, we also see our mission in letting the public experience and understand how our researchers work. The BRAIN DAY builds a bridge between science, interested public and those directly affected.

Prof. Dr. Denise Manahan-Vaughan, spokesperson of SFB 874

In the first lecture of the afternoon, PD Dr. Dirk Jancke, Optical Imaging Lab at the Institute of Neuroinformatics at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, took the visitors into the world of technical “brain hacks” – an exciting lecture with amazing historical image material, in which the guests learned about some basic neurophysiological procedures and approached the “language” of the brain.


Prof. Dr. Georg Juckel, LWL-Universitätsklinikum Bochum, then introduced his audience to the health guardians in the brain: the microglia. If their activity is disturbed, diseases with changes in behaviour and experience can occur. The Medical Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine emphasised the importance of this phenomenon also in connection with the corona situation and thus made an exciting connection to current medical issues.

Brain acrobatics and generative memory

Visitors were able to experience the framework programme in the central block of the BRAIN DAY with all their senses. The musicologist Michael Bradke, MobilesMusikMuseum Düsseldorf, offered musical brain acrobatics with “Takt, Ton & Tempo”. Prof. Dr. Sen Cheng from the Institute for Neuroinformatics at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum amazed the audience with a video contribution on generative memory.


What otherwise remains hidden from the BRAIN DAY visitors was made visible online at BRAIN DAY 2021. Two video reports took the visitors into the sacred halls of the Collaborative Research Centre – into the laboratories: They learned how stress can be specifically triggered and measured, and what the memory of corvids is capable of.


The BRAIN DAY 2021 was closed by two further scientific lectures: Prof. Dr. Elena Enax-Krumova, Neurological Clinic and Polyclinic of the BG-Universitätsklinikum Bergmannsheil Bochum, explained how knowledge of pain mechanisms can contribute to better pain therapy. Prof. Dr. med. Uwe Schlegel, Neurological Clinic of the Universitätsklinikum Knappschaftskrankenhaus Bochum, dealt with the effects of successful brain tumour therapies on memory and personality.

New edition of the BRAIN DAY planned for 14 September 2022

The guests followed the event, partly with a keen interest, partly with a smile on their faces – a successful mixture. And the participating self-help groups also benefited from the exchange with experts, interested parties and those affected. Heinz-Dieter Campa, Deutsche GBS-CIDP Selbsthilfe: “The day was a complete success for us. We have arranged an online lecture with Prof. Elena Enax-Krumova for our members. In addition, I myself will give a field report on polyneuropathy at the “Bildungsinstitut für Berufe im Gesundheitswesen der St. Elisabeth-Stiftung” in Bochum.”


And the BRAIN DAY is to take place again the following year: on 14 September 2022.
The SFB 874 team is hoping for an in-person event at the Event Centre of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

Thank you!

Such a colourful programme is not possible without the help of many dedicated people. They have contributed decisively to a successful BRAIN DAY 2021 and we would like to express our sincere thanks to:

Aylin Apostel, Michael Bradke, Kathrin Braungardt, Heide Brusis, Prof. Dr. Sen Cheng, Dr. Sabine Dannenberg, Arne Dessaul, Prof. Dr. Elena Enax-Krumova, Analia Espinoza, Eva Gentes, Lukas Hahn, Ursula Heiler, James Hibbard, Elisabeth Hummel, PD Dr. Dirk Jancke, Prof. Dr. Georg Juckel, Anna König, Konstantin Kunze, Anke Maes, Prof. Dr. Denise Manahan-Vaughan, Romina Monschau, Lena Pfeifer, Sabine Römer, Prof. Dr. Jonas Rose, Tobias Rüttgens, Prof. Dr. med. Uwe Schlegel, Lea Seitter, Roswitha Senn, Alexander Siedhoff, Henry Soldan, Pia Strater, Prof. Dr. Oliver T. Wolf, Murat Yilmaz

and to the staff of the following self-help groups: