Dr Matthew Nour
Academic Foundation Programme (2014)
Pathway to an AFP position
Matthew studied Medicine and Neuroscience at Oxford University, and it was here that his fascination for basic and clinical neuroscience developed and crystallised. He completed his Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) training in 2014, and his focus was clinical neuroscience.
For Matthew, the brain is the most fascinating object in the known universe, and he believes a full understanding of ‘how the brain works’ will require a meeting of many disciplines, including basic and clinical neuroscience, computational neurobiology, and philosophy of mind. Oxford is the ideal home for such multidisciplinary study and Matthew took full advantage of its vibrant research community both as a student and as an Academic Foundation doctor. As well as working on a number of neuroscience research projects, he gained experience in mathematical neurobiology during his elective, and also developed his long-standing interests in philosophy by taking supplementary courses at the University. Matthew found that researchers and clinical academics at Oxford exuded enthusiasm and approachability in equal measure.
What does the work involve?
The AFP provided Matthew with a dedicated four-month research block. During this time he undertook full-time experimental research investigating the neuroanatomical substrates of working memory in patients with temporal lobe lesions, under the supervision of Professor Masud Husain (Cognitive Neurology Group). He relished opportunities to attend research seminars and present his own work at research meetings.
For the remainder of his foundation years Matthew worked with Dr Isabel Leite and Professor Angela Vincent (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences) investigating non-neurological complications of neuroimmunological disorders. In addition, he was a tutor in neuroscience and medicine for undergraduates at three Oxford colleges. Combined, this work has yielded publications, national and international presentations, and a nomination for an international research prize.
Matthew is now working as a core psychiatry trainee in London, and believes that academic psychiatry is the perfect home in which to explore his interests in neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and computational biology. A fuller understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of psychiatric disorders will not only shed light on deep mysteries of human brain function, but will also help improve the lives of countless people who suffer from debilitating mental illness. Matthew continues his research with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Kings College London and the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Oxford. He aims to begin a PhD in Neuroscience in the near future, and Oxford will be among his top choices.