This is the third in a series of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) partner interviews, in which partners share their BAW experiences and tips for planning successful events. Norberto Garcia-Cairasco, Ph.D. is the director of Neurophysiology and Experimental Neuroethology Laboratory (LNNE) at Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine at the University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Dana Foundation: How did you become involved in Brain Awareness Week (BAW)?
Norberto Garcia-Cairasco: Since 2010, the Society for Neuroscience Rio Chapter has organized events for BAW in Brazil. In 2011, the LNNE joined the effort and developed a significant number of activities in the city of Ribeirão Preto. Then in 2012, the Brazilian Society for Neuroscience and Behavior (SBNeC) invited me and other colleagues to create a National Coordinator Committee for the first National Brain Awareness Week (I Semana Nacional do Cérebro (I SNC)). There was an increase in BAW activities in Brazil as a result of the network strategy, and we were quite happy that the LNNE played an important role in this improvement. Using this experience, in 2013, we increased our country’s activities to nearly 130 events from around 50 the previous year. Brazil’s national program represented more than 13 percent of all reported 2013 BAW events worldwide—a very significant jump. Records of these activities can be found in our BAW partner reports, on the SBNeC site/blog and other Brazilian blogs/sites, and on Facebook and YouTube.
Credit: Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience
Earlier this week, a study published in the journal Neurology reported that Alzheimer’s disease may be killing more than 500,000 people in the U.S. each year, making it possibly the third leading killer behind heart disease and cancer. As Brain Awareness Week (March 10-16) approaches, it’s as good a time as any to take stock of whether neuroscience is getting closer to finding a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
This is the second in a series of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) partner interviews, in which partners share their BAW experiences and tips for planning successful events. Kelley Remole, Ph.D., is the director of neuroscience outreach at Columbia University and the co-president of the Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.
Dana Foundation: Last year marked the first time that the Greater New York City Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience coordinated a Brain Awareness Week program with multiple partners under the umbrella name of “braiNY.” What inspired this initiative?
Kelley Remole: A lot of pieces came together to make the public, coordinated events of braiNY seem like a logical step. The Greater New York City Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience had been quietly growing for several years, and a number of scientists at institutions around the city started taking a serious interest in engaging the public with science. I was newly in a position at Columbia University where I could make something bigger happen at the institution, and I knew people at other universities including NYU and Mount Sinai who could likely do the same. By word of mouth, and with the encouragement of the Dana Foundation, this small handful of scientists grew into the group of dedicated individuals that put together the inaugural year of braiNY events in 2013. I don’t think any of us knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into, only that it was fun and that these events filled a need for scientist-driven public engagement about science.
This is the first in a series of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) partner interviews, in which partners share their BAW experiences and tips for planning successful events. Michael Friedlander, Ph.D., is the executive director of Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
Dana Foundation: Last year was the first time the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI) participated in BAW as an official partner, planning eleven public events. The program included local school visits, seminars, and radio broadcasts about topics such as neuroplasticity as we age, nutrition and exercise, and willpower and addiction. How did you decide on these particular topics and were you happy with the public response?
Michael Friedlander: We assessed the local landscape to determine what sort of opportunities were available, what level of interest existed in various topics, and what groups we thought would benefit from the message we hoped to share–the excitement and promise of contemporary brain science. As we are in a fairly small market (about 100,000 in the city of Roanoke proper and about 300,000 in the surrounding communities), we utilized local media (TV, print news, and websites), reached out to the public school systems, and built on established networks of local interest groups that the VTCRI developed through its ongoing outreach programs.