February 23, 2001

Don’t forget… Brain Awareness begins Feb. 28

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Vanderbilt resident Vatsal Thakkar’s film Ravaged will again be shown at the Belcourt Theatre on March 3 at 12:30 p.m. The one-hour movie is a drama about a man’s struggle with depression and post traumatic stress disorder after his girlfriend has been killed and he has been shot. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Vanderbilt’s annual series of Brain Awareness events kicks off next week with a program highlighting how the brain learns and remembers. Dr. Mortimer Mishkin of the National Institute of Mental Health will describe his research on brain regions important to perception and memory in a lecture at Sarratt Cinema on Feb. 28 at 4 p.m.

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 25,000 brain researchers. The goal of Brain Awareness is to teach the general public about how the brain works and the importance of brain research to understanding, treating, and ultimately curing brain-related diseases.

Upcoming events include:

• Feb. 28 “Memory and the Brain”-Dr. Mortimer Mishkin and Dr. Jon H. Kaas, Centennial Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University, 4 to 5 p.m., Sarratt Cinema.

• March 3 “Brain Blast”- Enjoy a variety of brain games, mind games, and hands-on activities led by Vanderbilt neuroscience undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Cumberland Science Museum.

• March 15 “Autism: A Search for Genes, A Search for Therapies”- Dr. Edwin Cook, Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, Dr. Stephen M. Camarata, Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, and Dr. James S. Sutcliffe, Vanderbilt Program in Human Genetics, will discuss the latest genetic research and therapeutic interventions for autism, a developmental disorder of brain function, 7 to 9 p.m., Cumberland Science Museum.

• March 21 “Alzheimer’s Disease: Advances in Treatment & Diagnosis”-Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, affects an estimated four million people in the United States. The program will feature Dr. Virginia Lee, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the University of Pennsylvania, and Drs. Thomas J. Montine and Ariel Y. Deutch of Vanderbilt University, 7 to 9 p.m., Cumberland Science Museum.

• March 29 “How to Build a Mammalian Brain”- Dr. Derek van der Kooy from the departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto will discuss neural stem cells, master cells for the brain that could potentially be used to treat neurodegenerative and other brain disorders, 4 to 5 p.m., 241 MRL Building, Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University.

For programs at the Cumberland Science Museum, call 401-5101 to reserve seats. For more information, call the Vanderbilt Brain Institute at 936-2637 or visit the Web site http://braininstitute.vanderbilt.edu.