St Cross Student Joins British Neuroscience Association Scholars Programme

St Cross student Faissal Sharif (DPhil in Clinical Neurosciences, 2022) has been selected as a British Neuroscience Association Scholar.

The BNA Scholars Programme — launched in 2021 to support students from ethnic groups that are currently under-represented in neuroscience — offers a mentoring scheme and networking opportunities.

It is an immense honour to be part of such a brilliant and diverse cohort of neuroscientists.

The scientific landscape is lacking diversity, equity and inclusion on so many different levels: From data collected to the researchers themselves. The BNA Scholar programme is a critical step toward addressing these issues.

The programme is supported by DeepMind, the Gatsby Foundation and MSD, who Sharif will be able to engage throughout the three-year programme.

Crucially, the programme will also enable Sharif to talk at national and international conferences about his research — a subject he is exceptionally passionate about.

faissal sharif picture

 “I come from a background where mental illness is seen as a personal failure — a notion I deeply disregard. Our mental well-being is a complex interplay of biological, psychological and social elements — all of which require scientific inquiry,” Sharif said.

“My passion for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying mental disorders has led me to investigate the mechanisms of fear, low mood and apathy. I am determined to contribute to the

worldwide effort to alleviate the global burden of mental disorders. 

“Ultimately, my goal is to develop cost-effective treatment approaches that extend beyond the Western context and reach populations in the global South.”

Sharif, who studied biomedical sciences at Maastricht University in the Netherlands before undertaking a research internship in Los Angeles, has now spent two terms at St Cross, where he is supervised by Professor Huiling Tan.

“I am immensely confident that it was the right choice for me,” Sharif said. “It is a truly egalitarian college, which is not just international by the numbers but strives to create an inclusive environment shaped by its community.”