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

SfN18 Celebrates Brain Awareness

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With this year’s Society for Neuroscience (SfN) annual meeting now in full swing, downtown San Diego couldn’t be more bustling. Everywhere you turn, street signs, store windows, and flyers read “Neuroscience 2018” to encourage visitors to check out at least one of the many events happening at the San Diego Convention Center.

Helping to kick off the meeting on Saturday was the Brain Awareness Campaign reception and poster presentation. Alongside the reception stage, shared by numerous Brain Awareness Week “influencers,” were aisles lined with more than 40 colorful poster boards created largely by neuroscientists at various stages of their careers to showcase their neuroscience outreach initiatives.

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SfN18: Pat Metheny at Dialogues Lecture

Based on past experience at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) annual meeting, I thought I could just stroll into the opening Dialogues lecture a few minutes before it began and park myself just about anywhere. After all, there are about 5,000 seats in the San Diego Convention Center’s massive ballroom, and there were always open seats in past years. But not this year.

That’s because Pat Metheny, one of the world’s best-known jazz composers, guitar players, and band leaders—someone who mostly lets his music do the talking—was the featured guest at “Dialogues Between Neuroscience and Society: Music and the Brain.”

After finally finding a seat all the way in the right corner, I watched on a screen as SfN President Richard Huganir and ear surgeon Charles Limb, former colleagues at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Limb has since moved to UCSF), moderated the program with passion and experience. Both spun personal, humorous anecdotes about the impact that Metheny’s music has had on their lives.

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Neuroscientists Heading to San Diego This Week – and So Are We

We’re heading off to attend the Society for Neuroscience’s Annual Meeting, Neuroscience 2018, which starts on Saturday in San Diego. More than 30,000 neuroscientists and their friends will converge on the San Diego Convention Center–a city’s worth of brain-lovers! Before SfN’s official start, we’ll also be taking in the annual meeting of the International Neuroethics Society (INS), held at the San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Boulevard. Stay tuned for posts and photos and more from both events.

Here’s some of what we’re looking forward to. **NOTE: If you’re nearby, three of the events I’ve listed (the ones with boldface type) are free and open to the public—come by and say hi! **

Thursday, Nov. 1

ins horizontalWe’ll be at the whole day of INS events at San Diego Central Library, with topics including digitally decoding brain and behavior, managing neuroinformation to protect identity, and deep brain stimulation and sense of self. Follow along via Twitter hashtags #neuroethics and  #INS2018.

5:30 pm to 7 pm (Pacific time): “My Brain Made Me Buy It: The Neuroethics of Advertising,” a public forum opened by Carl Marci, who will describe how advertising techniques based on big data are challenging social and ethical boundaries. Then he’ll join researchers Read Montague, Uma Karmarker, and Steve Hyman in deeper discussion. Come on by if you’re in the area: This event, part of the INS meeting at San Diego Central Library, is free, but please register. (There will be a short reception afterward.) Continue reading

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