In the latest instalment of our Staff Profile series, we spoke to Senior Teaching Fellow Dr Stefano Sandrone, who was recently awarded a President’s Award for Excellence in Supporting the Student Experience.
Introduce yourself – who are you and what do you do?
I am an Italian neuroscientist, a Senior Teaching Fellow and a Principal Investigator within the Computational, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory (C3NL). I also have international leadership roles in research and education.
When did you join the College and where were you working before this?
In January 2018. Before joining the College, I was a Teaching Fellow at King’s College London, where I completed my PhD and a brief postdoc.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
Mentoring the next generation of neuroscientists.
And the most challenging?
I like taking challenges.
What do you think is the most important factor in creating an effective and positive learning environment for students?
Four factors: respect, knowledge, enthusiasm and experience.
With the switch to remote teaching and learning across the College, how has the MSc Translational Neuroscience programme been adapted?
I wrote a Neuron paper, which was recently published, where I explain how to exploit active learning to adapt neuroscience courses in a time of social distancing. On this note, I am keen on continuing mentoring the PhD students and the postdocs in the department who would like to get teaching experience.
Last year, you received a Julia Higgins Award, which recognises individuals, groups, and departments that have made a significant contribution to the support of academic women at the College. How did it feel for your work to be recognised in this way?
It was fantastic! But this is only one step forward towards fighting inequalities. There are many societal challenges we need to win, all together. This is what really matters.
When you’re not working, what hobbies or activities have you been most enjoying during lockdown?
I am a very social person with many interests, from art exhibitions to football, from going to the Royal Opera House to enjoying my time in Cannes (including its Film Festival). All things I could not do during the lockdown, which I also spent far away from my family. Therefore, I focused on writing manuscripts on how to innovate neuroscience and neurology education.