February 25, 2005

Brain Awareness events on tap in March

Featured Image

Troy Mickens attends cardiac rehabilitation three times a week at the Dayani Center since his heart transplant in December.
photo by Dana Johnson

March is the month for getting to know your brain and how it works. Brain Awareness, sponsored by the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, aims to teach the public about the importance of brain research to understanding, treating, and ultimately curing brain-related diseases.

The international Brain Awareness program was established in 1995 by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of brain function, and the Society for Neuroscience, an international community of more than 25,000 brain researchers.

Upcoming events during March include:

• March 5 — Brain Blast! Family Fun at the Adventure Science Center — Enjoy a variety of hands-on activities led by Vanderbilt neuroscience undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. Brain Blast is free, but participants must pay the science center entry fee. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Adventure Science Center.

• March 9 — Brains Asleep, Brains at Risk — Hanna Kinney, M.D., from the Department of Neurology at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, will discuss insights into the neurobiology and pathophysiology of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a leading cause of infant mortality. 7-8 p.m., Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Theater/First Tennessee Conference Center. Free parking available in South Parking Garage, 2200 Children's Way.

• March 15 — The Growing Brain — Michael Meaney, Ph.D., from the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University, will describe remarkable new evidence suggesting that mother-infant interactions influence subsequent behavior and brain chemistry in the adult. 7-8 p.m., Adventure Science Center.

• March 30 — Brain Awareness Keynote Address: The Shape of Minds to Come — Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., from the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of California, San Francisco, will discuss how changes in the functional architecture of the brain are critical to how we learn and respond to injury, and could be key to new therapeutics. 4-5 p.m., 103 Wilson Hall. Parking available in Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170, at standard rates.

• March 31 — Family Ties in Brain Disorders — Susan E. Folstein, M.D., from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University, will describe recent efforts linking genes to autism. Defects in a variety of genes expressed in the brain during development may explain individual differences in core characteristics and developmental profiles. 4-5 p.m., 241 MRL Building, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. Parking available in Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170, at standard rates.

All Brain Awareness events are open to the public. For more information, contact the Vanderbilt Brain Institute at: 936-2637, brain.institute@vanderbilt.edu or visit the Web site http://braininstitute.vanderbilt.edu.