Richard Morris on The Life Scientific

“Suppose you were to go back to the place where you lived as a child,” neuroscientist Richard Morris prompts, “You could probably go back to the exact spot where the house was, but it may have changed dramatically…It may be a whole different kind of neighborhood. But you would know that was the place where you had grown up.”

So what happens in our brains to give us this innate sense of place? Morris has devoted the last 50 years to researching and understanding the mechanisms in our brain that power this “internal GPS” and offered some insight on Tuesday’s episode of BBC Radio’s “The Life Scientific.” His work focuses on how brain connections change, strengthen, and weaken in response to patterns of activity that correspond to everyday life experiences.

Continue reading

2017 Design a Brain Experiment Competition

FB-Icon-FINAL-PNG

Students have just over one month to submit their entries to our annual Design a Brain Experiment competition! We’re looking for high school students in the US to take on the challenge of coming up with an original experiment focusing on the human brain. On January 11, 2017, all entries will be collected for review by our team of scientific advisors, led by neuroscientist Eric Chudler, Ph.D.

This is the sixth year the Dana Foundation will be awarding a $500 first place prize and a $250 runner-up prize to the schools or sponsoring nonprofit institutions of the winning students. Research proposals can investigate any part of neuroscience as long as it tests a theory about the brain. Just remember, the experiments are hypothetical, so students don’t need to actually complete them.

Last year’s winning submission was from New York’s Emery Powell, who focused on a potential therapy to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. For more details on how to enter, read through the official competition guidelines. Experiments will be judged on creativity, so we encourage students to think outside the box. The 2017 winners will be announced during Brain Awareness Week (March 13-19). Good luck!

Ways to Participate in Brain Awareness Week

Organizing and promoting events is a wonderful way to promote Brain Awareness Week (BAW) in your community, but did you know that you can also submit a request for a BAW proclamation? Your local city and state official(s) may be receptive to issuing one in honor and in celebration of BAW. A proclamation is a “time-honored vehicle for securing government recognition of your program and further promotes BAW’s core mission: to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.”

On the BAW website, you can find instructions for how to request a proclamation, as well as see sample proclamations awarded to select cities–and one signed by the United States President in 2002!

Proclamation2016Manhattan (2)

Kathleen Roina, BAW Campaign Director, and Laura Reynolds, Director of the Cognitive Fitness Initiative, hold a proclamation issued by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer in celebration of BAW 2016. 

Continue reading

Brain Awareness Week 2017: How About a Science Café?

If you haven’t started thinking about Brain Awareness Week (BAW) 2017 (or even if you have), brainstorming for your event(s) is a good way to get cracking on your BAW Celebrate BAW Image_Squareplans. Types of events during BAW vary greatly, targeting many different audiences and covering a large range of topics. From laboratory visits for elementary students to symposiums for college students to concerts for all ages, BAW has it all!

One event type to consider are science cafés: “events that take place in causal settings such as pubs and coffeehouses, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic.” They encourage a dialogue between scientists and the public and are a uniquely informal and fun way to not only disseminate scientific knowledge, but also discuss it.

Continue reading

Enter the 2017 Design a Brain Experiment Competition

design-a-brain_fb

As students head into their first weeks of the school year, another round of the Design a Brain Experiment competition is upon us! We’re challenging high school students in the U.S. to use their knowledge of the brain and the scientific method of inquiry to develop innovative ideas and theories about the human brain. These original experiments should be designed to test creative theories about daily brain activity, brain disorders and diseases, and brain functions. However, students should not complete their experiments; they should view these submissions as research proposals rather than completed research.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: