Dana Alliance Members in the News

The Dana Foundation works closely with the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, groups of neuroscientists committed to advancing public awareness about the progress and promise of brain research. Many Alliance members participate in the Foundation’s outreach programs, such as Brain Awareness Week and Staying Sharp.

In addition to their commitment to outreach, the members are top researchers in their fields. Two were recently featured in notable news stories.

In an interview for Nature magazine, psychologist Liz Phelps, New York University, talks to writer Mo Costandi about how the brain views race.

Social psychologists differentiate between the attitudes that people express and their implicit preferences. This can be studied using the implicit association task, which measures initial, evaluative responses. It involves asking people to pair concepts such as black and white with concepts like good and bad. What you find is that most white Americans take longer to make a response that pairs black with good and white with bad than vice versa. This reveals their implicit preferences.

Nobel Prize winner Stanley Prusiner, UC San Francisco, wrote a commentary last week in Science magazine about the role of prions in neurodegenerative diseases. An LA Times article discusses his arguments.

Who hasn’t heard of mad cow disease? Maybe there are a lot more diseases like that than we recognize –such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s — that are caused by a rogue, mis-folded piece of protein that seeds other bits of protein to mis-fold as well.

So argues Stanley Prusiner, a UC San Francisco professor, in a commentary in the journal Science.

–Ann L. Whitman

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