News and Events

College’s award-winning Brain Awareness Week begins October 30

Student presenting science research poster
September 29, 2023
Linda Blaser

Brain Awareness Week, the award-winning academic outreach program that explores medical mysteries of the mind, will be held on campus from October 30 to November 3. This interdisciplinary program features engaging lectures with top experts from University of Chicago, Harvard Medical School, Oregon Health & Science University, and many on-campus activities.

In addition to the three keynote lectures, the nationally recognized program will feature the Annual Robert B. Glassman Memorial Brain, Mind, and Behavior Symposium.

Highlights of Brain Awareness Week include:

  • “Does One Exercise Workout Change Your Brain? Our Mice Say Yes” keynote lecture delivered by Gary Westbrook, MD,
    Rocky and Julie Dixon Professor of Neurology and Senior Scientist, Vollum Institute, Oregon Health & Science University at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, October 30 via Teams.

  • “Decoding the Mind Using Brain-Machine Interfaces” talk by Nicholas Hatsopoulos, Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, Committee of Computational Neuroscience and Neurobiology, University of Chicago, at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31 in the Tarble Room, Brown Hall.

  • “Looking at Climate Change from Inside the Brain: How Neuroscience Connects to our Environmental Crisis” lecture by Ann-Christine Duhaime, MD, Nicholas T. Zervas Distinguished Professor of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1 via Teams.

  • Tenth Annual Robert B. Glassman Memorial Brain, Mind, and Behavior Symposiumfaculty and alumni talks from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, November 2 in the Tarble Room, Brown Hall. Topics include psychosocial stress reactivity, predicting pain after spinal cord injury, the dubious science behind shaken baby syndrome and its dangerous implications in the courtroom, reassessing the measurement and mental health correlates of street harassment, and finding pain relief.

  • Glassman Symposium undergraduate and alumni research poster session will feature presentations by students and alumni from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, November 3, on campus in Calvin Durand Hall and the Mohr Student Center and a wrap-up ceremony.

In its twenty-first year, Brain Awareness Week’s enduring longevity speaks to the increasing societal relevance of understanding how our brain works and guides all our behaviors, says Disque D. and Carol Gram Deane Professor of Biological Sciences and Chair of Neuroscience Shubhik DebBurman.

“The College’s neuroscience curriculum is exceptionally interdisciplinary-driven featuring the scholarly and teaching interests of our faculty and the breadth of student’s academic interests,” DebBurman said. “We strive to highlight this strength during Brain Awareness Week. I am particularly excited that our three keynote talks this year will focus on topics as diverse as how your brain is impacted by exercise, brain-machine breakthroughs that are driving neural prosthetics, and how climate change and environmental sustainability is informed by neuroscience,” DebBurman said.

Art and science also meet during the Glassman Symposium. This year students from the College’s undergraduate society for neuroscience, Nu Rho Psi, are collaborating with the art department to host a student competition for artwork depicting “Exercise and the Brain”—the 2023 national education and outreach theme. A faculty panel will judge the art entries that will be displayed during the Glassman Symposium; the top prize will be awarded during the Glassman student celebration.

Nu Rho Psi Co-President Olivia Godek ’24 appreciates the unique learning experience Brain Awareness Week provides.  

“Brain Awareness Week gives our community a chance to come together to learn about the brain and raise awareness about the importance of neuroscience research,” the neuroscience major and chemmistry minor said. “It provides a wonderful opportunity for students to get involved in sharing their research, and one of the best parts is that it often inspires younger students to pursue research during their time at the College as well.”

All Brain Awareness Week events are free and open to the public.

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