Former Dana grantee Beth Stevens joins ranks of MacArthur ‘geniuses’


Early last week, the MacArthur Foundation announced the 2015 MacArthur Fellows. Former Dana grantee Beth Stevens was among the 24 recipients. According to MacArthur President Julia Stasch, the award goes to individuals who are “shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways.” The fellowship, colloquially known as the MacArthur ‘genius grant,’ comes with a $625,000 ‘no-strings-attached’ stipend to allow recipients to “advance their expertise [and] engage in bold new work.”

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Scientists Weigh in on Special Needs Learning

“Allowing children to fail, to think they’re ‘dumb,’ is no longer acceptable,” said Dana Alliance member Sally Shaywitz at a recent Capitol Hill briefing on what neuroscience can tell us about educating special needs children.

Shaywitz, co-director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, joined fellow panelists Dana Alliance member Martha Denckla and Damien Fair for a discussion that addressed the importance and the difficulty of early detection of learning disorders such as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As reported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):

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A Review on “Marijuana and the Brain”

Med-MarLast month’s Capitol Hill briefing on “Marijuana and the Brain” was the latest in a series hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and sponsored by the Dana Foundation. These sessions are designed to educate Congressional members and their staffs about topical issues in neuroscience, and are open to the public.

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Marijuana and the Brain Briefing

Med-MarThis Tuesday, May 12, join us on Capitol Hill for a public luncheon briefing about marijuana and the brain. Top experts in the
field will speak about medicinal marijuana and the drug’s effect on the brain, as well as research on the impact of state marijuana policies.

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How Stem Cells Build a Complex Brain

Guest post by science writer Carl Sherman

Within the brain’s complexity is the diversity of its 10 billion neurons: large, small, thin, fat, connected by long fibrils or short bushy ones. Some produce the neurotransmitter serotonin; others dopamine or norepinephrine. How this abundance of forms arises is a mystery we are just starting to penetrate.

It’s of more than mere theoretical interest, says Minoree Kohwi, Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience at Columbia University. “Knowing how the brain is built, piece by piece, from the ground up, may give critical clues as to what goes wrong to cause diseases, and ultimately help us prevent or cure them.” It may even, someday, allow us to make neurons to replace those lost to injury or aging.

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