Vanderbilt Brain Institute Hosts Brain Awareness Month 2005

Brain Awareness Month is a series of events during March aimed at teaching the public about the importance of brain research to understanding, treating, and ultimately curing brain-related diseases. Events are open to the public and are sponsored by the Vanderbilt Brain Institute (936-2637,

WHO, WHEN, WHERE: Hands-on family activity and nationally recognized speakers at various dates and times during March, as follows:

March 5
— Brain Blast! Family Fun at the Adventure Science Center — A variety of hands-on activities led by Vanderbilt neuroscience undergraduates, graduate students and faculty. Brain Blast is free, but participants must pay the Science Center entry fee. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Adventure Science Center.

March 9
— Brains Asleep, Brains at Risk — Hanna Kinney, M.D., Department of Neurology, Boston Children‘s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, will present the latest insights into the neurobiology and pathophysiology of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a leading cause of infant mortality. 7-8 p.m., Vanderbilt Children‘s Hospital Theater/First Tennessee Conference Center. Free parking available in South Parking Garage, 2200 Children‘s Way.

March 15
— The Growing Brain — Michael Meaney, Ph.D., Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, will describe remarkable new evidence suggesting that mother-infant interactions influence subsequent behavior and brain chemistry in the adult. 7-8 p.m., Adventure Science Center.

March 30
— Brain Awareness Keynote Address: The Shape of Minds to Come — Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., Department of Otolaryngology, University of California, San Francisco, will discuss how changes in the functional architecture of the brain are critical to how we learn and respond to injury, and could be key to new therapeutics. 4-5 p.m., 103 Wilson Hall. Parking available in Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170, at standard rates.

March 31
— Family Ties in Brain Disorders — Susan E. Folstein, M.D., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University, will describe recent efforts linking genes to autism. Defects in a variety of genes expressed in the brain during development may explain individual differences in core characteristics and developmental profiles. 4-5 p.m., 241 MRL Building, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. Parking available in Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170, at standard rates.