Community Neuroscience: How to Teach Brain Science to Kids

In the newest episode of our “Community Neuroscience” video series, Eric Chudler, Ph.D., offers his advice on how to make neuroscience fun and engaging to young kids. Chudler is executive director of the Center for Neurotechnology at the University of Washington, where he conducts research related to how the brain processes information from the senses. Outside of the lab, he works with teachers to develop educational materials to help K-12 students learn about the brain and its functions and has been involved in neuroscience outreach for more than 20 years.

In addition to his longtime running Neuroscience For Kids website, Chudler’s most recent outreach endeavor is a video series called “BrainWorks” (produced with partner support from the Dana Foundation). The second episode, on exercise and the brain, landed him a Northwest Emmy Award!


Check back for next week’s episode, featuring two outreach all-stars from the west coast who created their own robust, neuroscience non-profit to excite young people about science, art, and learning about the brain.

Community Neuroscience: How to Organize a Brain Fair

The second episode of our new “Community Neuroscience” series is now up on the Dana Foundation YouTube channel! In this video, Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives member Michael Burman, Ph.D., offers tips on how to organize a successful brain fair for the public. Burman is an associate professor at the University of New England (UNE), as well as Neuroscience K-12 Outreach Coordinator at its Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences.

Over the years, Burman has helped lead public outreach efforts to inspire his community about the brain. The hallmark activity at UNE is their annual Brain Fair, where more than 600 kids, teens, and adults can take part in interactive exhibits to learn about memory, the senses, addiction, brain injuries, and more. You can read more about him and his approach in this past Dana Foundation blog interview.


Stay tuned for next week’s video, which will feature an Emmy-award winning guest with advice on how to talk about neuroscience to elementary school kids.

Dana Foundation Launches Neuroscience Outreach Video Series

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To support and encourage people interested in building an organization or communicating brain science through events, teaching, or writing, the Dana Foundation today launches the first of five “Community Neuroscience” videos. The videos, between 5 and 12 minutes in length, will air weekly on the Dana Foundation YouTube channel starting January 16, leading up to Brain Awareness Week (March 11-17), an annual global event that promotes the promise and benefits of brain research.

Here is a summary of the topics and guests in the order they’ll air: Continue reading

SfN18: Telling Stories of Science

Guest post by Kayt Sukel 

There’s an old Hopi proverb: “Those who tell the stories rule the world.”

In today’s world, where science seems to often get short shrift, Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist at New York University and a member of the Dana Alliance, believes that storytelling can be a powerful tool for scientists to share, teach, and connect with the world outside their laboratories. She convened the second storytelling session at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting this year, recruiting scientists and science educators like Monica Feliu-Mojer, director of communications and science outreach at Ciencia Puerto Rico; Rachel Yehuda, director of the traumatic stress studies division at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine; Paula Croxson, senior manager for education programs at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute; Jean Mary Zarate, senior editor at Nature Neuroscience; and Uri Hasson, professor of neuroscience at Princeton University, to discuss why stories can be so compelling—and what they can offer the average budding neuroscientist. Part storytelling event and part scientific presentation, each participant demonstrated how personal narratives can transform science communication in different ways.

Monica Feliu-Mojer tackled the elephant in the room with the first presentation in the session, “Who Speaks for Science?”  Continue reading

Fumiko Hoeft Receives SfN Science Educator Award

Fumiko Hoeft  (photo by Peter Morenus/UConn)

Each year, the Society for Neuroscience recognizes outstanding neuroscientists who have strongly added to public education and awareness about the field. The Dana Foundation sponsors these awards. This year’s award was presented to Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychology and director of the Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC) at the University of Connecticut and director of the Laboratory for Learning Engineering and Neural Systems (brainLENS.org) located at UConn/UCSF , during the society’s annual meeting, in San Diego, on Tuesday.

Q: Was it a conscious decision for you to do a lot of education and outreach, as well as research?

Dr. Hoeft: Yes. The experience of education and outreach is not so different than what we do as physicians. I always wanted to be a physician: In my elementary school graduation album I wrote, “I want to be a physician and help the underserved.” When I started research at Harvard, three years after graduating from medical school in Japan, I missed clinical work and interacting with people terribly. Continue reading

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