Scholars to speak at Internal Symposium

Four Scholars will address subjects ranging from memory formation to the ethics of cancer screening.

Four Gates Cambridge Scholars are presenting their research at an Internal Symposium on 1st November on subjects ranging from the mental health of women in the slums of Mumbai and memory formation to migration between Japan and Mexico and the ethics of cancer screening.

Saloni Atal’s talk is entitled Suffering, Survival & Transformation: Lay Understandings of Mental Illness Among Women in Mumbai’s ‘Slums’. It covers depressive and anxiety disorders among slum-dwelling women in India. Her research explores local understandings of distress and healing among slum-dwelling women and found that mental ill health was understood in essentially social terms through the idiom of ‘tension’ and defined against community norms surrounding family responsibilities, gender roles and economic productivity. Saloni, [2017], who is doing a PhD in Psychology, says: “Treatment for mental ill health was seen to require the mobilisation of community resources through social networks, seeking expert advice and generating employment. Women also stressed the need to be self-reliant and cultivate psychological resources through re-framing, endurance and moral fortitude.” She hopes her findings will help in the development of methods of intervention which are appropriate to local contexts and which make use of local cultural and linguistic resources.

Alex Quent’s talk is entitled Interaction between reward anticipation and stress hormone during memory formation. It looks at how memories are encoded in the brain by focusing on those associated with stress or reward. His research found that, while there were no significant effects of stress or reward on overall memory performance, for events where no reward was anticipated, increases in stress-related cortisol in stressed participants were related to increases in recall and increases in recollection-based recognition responses. In contrast, for events where a reward was anticipated, increases in stress-related cortisol were not related to increases in memory performance. Alex [2017], who is doing a PhD in Biological Science, says the results indicate that the stress and the reward systems interact in the way they impact episodic memory and shed light on the neurobiological mechanism of how memories are formed.

Jessica Fernandez de Lara Harada [2016] will speak about her research on United States - Japan - Latin American relations and their impact on large-scale long-distance migration from Japan to Mexico at the turn of the 20th century. She will address state policies, national politics and institutional and popular discourses on migration, nation and miscegenation and citizenship, but she is more concerned with the individual experiences, motivations and trajectories of Japanese migrants and their descendants across generations. Jessica, who is doing a PhD in Latin American Studies, says: “My research addresses globalisation as everyday process, race and multi-culture and world history."

Joseph Wu’s talk is entitled Should you get screened for cancer? He will explain the benefits and harms of cancer screening and map these onto the main points of controversy around the early detection of cancer. In doing so he will look at the ethical issues screening raises and look at the implications for medical practice and health policy. Joseph [2016] is doing a PhD in History and the Philosophy of Science.

*The Internal Symposium takes place on 1st November in the GCSR from 7-9pm. All Gates Scholars and their guests are welcome. Picture credit: Wikimedia Commons.