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Free event set to reveal wonders, mysteries of the human brain

Feb. 26, 2015, 8:41 AM

(photo by Daniel Dubois)

“Brain Blast,” a half day of free, hands-on activities for children and adults, will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, March 7, at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks, 719 Thompson Lane.

On the first floor of Entrance D, Vanderbilt University students and neuroscientists will guide participants through a series of exhibits including “build a neuron,” explore “brainwaves,” experiment with DNA, perceive illusions and touch a real brain.

Brain Blast is a highlight of Vanderbilt’s annual Brain Awareness Month, sponsored by the Vanderbilt Brain Institute to raise awareness about the brain in health and disease.

The public also is invited to two other free “Brainstorm” events:

• Friday, March 13, 4:10 p.m. — “Troubled Kids: Using Neuroimaging to Explore the Brain Basis of Affective Pathology in Youth,” the Brain Awareness Keynote Lecture by Mary Phillips, M.D., director of the Mood and Brain Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh, in room 241, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, and

• Thursday, March 19, 7 p.m. — “Tooth, Claw, and Neuron — Amazing Brains and Behaviors of Unusual Predators,” the Jeanette J. Norden Outreach Lecture by Kenneth Catania, Ph.D., Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt, in the first-floor conference room, Entrance D, Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks.

Brain Awareness Month also includes four other lectures aimed at the Vanderbilt community and open to the public:

“Deciphering the serotonergic system: from breathing to behavior,” a Conte Center seminar by Susan Dymecki, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, 2 p.m. March 10, in room U1220, MRB III.

“RNA-binding ion channels and the control of neuronal timing,” a Vanderbilt Brain Institute Special Seminar by Leonard Konrad Kaczmarek, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale University, 3 p.m. March 16, in U1220, MRB III.

“Neural circuits underlying pattern completion,” a Department of Psychology seminar by Gabriel Kreiman, Ph.D., associate professor of Ophthalmology and Neurology at Harvard Medical School, 4 p.m. March 17, 126 Wilson Hall.

“Mapping Neural Stem Cell Heterogeneity in Health and Disease, “ a Neuroscience Graduate Program Seminar by Rebecca Ihrie, Ph.D., assistant professor of Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt, 4:10 p.m. March 25, in U1220 MRB III.

For more information, contact Beth Sims at or 615-936-3705.

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