March 13, 1998

Events, presentations on tap to celebrate brain research

Events, presentations on tap to celebrate brain research

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St. Cecilia Academy high school students (from left) Amand Woff, Linda Zhang and Shelby Larkin got some hands-on experience during Brain Awareness Week. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey).

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Jeanette Norden, Ph.D., spoke with area high school students about brain development. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey).

National leaders in brain research will gather next week at Vanderbilt University to celebrate the second annual Brain Awareness Week.

Presentations will cover a broad array of topics ranging from mental illness to understanding electrical activity in the brain.

The many events are coordinated bt VUMC's Center for Molecular Neuroscience but many different departments sponsor the programs.

Though Brain Awareness Week officially begins March 16 and lasts until March 22, many events have already begun and will run through the end of the month.

"We have brought in many new programs this year and are very excited about the events," said Marcie Pospichal, Ph.D., assistant director for programs and coordinator of graduate studies in the Center for Molecular Neuroscience.

This year VUMC and Cumberland Science Museum have teamed up to present the exhibit "It's All in Your Head," which features a model of the human brain 12 times larger than life size. The exhibit is a hands-on interactive display showing how the brain controls the body, what the brain is composed of, and how we learn.

"The exhibit is our very best tool for teaching children about the brain. Once children are interested in the brain they will be able to understand how important it is for us to research the inner workings of the brain," said Pospichal.

Another of the events of Brain Awareness Week will be a presentation by a group of nationally known researchers who will explore Parkinson's disease and related movement disorders.

This program will be held on Friday, March 13, from 7 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. in the University School of Nashville auditorium and is open to the public. The event is cosponsored by the Centyer for Molecular Neuroscience, Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence at Vanderbilt, and the Department of Pathology.

"We hope that anyone in the Middle Tennessee area who has a question about Parkinson's Disease or a related disorder will attend this event. There will be a wealth of important information presented and it should be very useful for people who have concerns with Parkinson's Disease," said Pospichal.

Participants in the forum will include Ariel Y. Deutch, Ph.D., professor of Psychiatry and director of the Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excelence at Vanderbilt, who will lead panel members in discussions about their research and clinical activities, and Dr. Donald Calne, director of the Neurodegenerative Disorders Clinic, University of British Columbia, who will give the keynote address.

Panel members will include Dr. Thomas L. Davis, associate professor of Neurology and director of the Movement Disorders Clinic; Dr. David Robertson, professor of Medicine and director of the Clinical Research Center; Dr. Doyle G. Graham, professor and chair of Pathology; and Dr. Thomas J. Montine, assistant professor of Pathology and Pharmacology.

For more information, contact Marcie Pospichal at 936-2637.