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Events highlight wonders, mysteries of the human brain

Mar. 2, 2017, 10:08 AM

Research on Alzheimer’s disease, hearing loss and how synaptic networks form will be featured during this year’s Brain Awareness Month in March sponsored by the Vanderbilt Brain Institute.

A highlight is “Brain Blast,” a half-day of free, hands-on activities for children and adults. This year’s event will be held in partnership with Tennessee State University from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, March 11, at TSU’s Farrell-Westbrook Agricultural Complex, 3108 John A. Merritt Blvd.

The complex is located off 28th Avenue North near the intersection of Jefferson Street.

Brain Awareness Month is held annually to raise awareness about the brain in health and disease.

Dates and topics of public events at Vanderbilt include:

March 8 — “Representational geometry in the human brain,” by Thomas Carlson, Ph.D., University of Sydney, Australia, 4:10 p.m., room 1220, Medical Research Building III. Carlson’s talk is a neuroscience seminar on the “Brain, Mind and Society.”

March 22 — An Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research forum featuring seven Vanderbilt University faculty members, 1-4 p.m., in the theater at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The forum is hosted by Jeanette Norden, Ph.D., professor emerita of Cell and Developmental Biology.

March 24 — “Cochlear Neurodegeneration in Acquired Sensorineural Hearing Loss,” by Sharon Kujawa, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, at noon in the Bill Wilkerson Center, south tower of Medical Center East. Her seminar is co-sponsored by the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences.

The Brain Awareness Month Keynote Lecture will be given on March 29 by Cagla Eroglu, Ph.D., associate professor of Cell Biology at Duke University Medical Center. Her lecture, titled “Control of Synaptic Connectivity by Astrocytes,” will begin at 4:10 p.m. in room 1220, MRB III.

Three Brain Blast Brown Bag Lectures also will be given by neuroscience graduate students at noon next week to Vanderbilt staff members who are non-experts but want to learn more about the brain. Dates and topics are:

March 6 — “Insights into Autism” by Robin Shafer (Bodfish lab), room 412 Light Hall.

March 8 — “Reading and your brain” by Katherine Aboud (Cutting lab), room 512 Light Hall.

March 10 — “How we integrate sight and sound” by David Simon (Wallace lab), room 512 Light Hall.

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

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