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National Medal of Science Winner Visits OHSU Balance Disorders Lab

   Portland, Ore.

MIT's Ann Graybiel, Ph.D., is this year's winner of the Robert S. Dow Neuroscience Award presented by the OHSU Neurological Sciences Institute


Neuroscientist Ann Graybiel, Ph.D., of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology visits the Balance and Movement Disorders Lab in the OHSU Neurological Sciences Institute.


3 - 4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 23


Neurological Sciences Institute, OHSU West Campus


The event will include a demonstration of research into balance disorders at OHSU and a chance to interview this year's Robert S. Dow Neuroscience Award winner. In addition, balance experts currently conducting research and treating patients at OHSU will be on hand.

Ann Graybiel, Ph.D., who was presented with a National Medal of Science last year by President Bush, visits OHSU to receive the Robert S. Dow Neuroscience Award this week. In addition to receiving the award and giving a public lecture, Graybiel will visit the Balance and Movement Disorders Lab at the Oregon Health & Science University Neurological Sciences Institute.

Graybiel's area of research, the basal ganglia, is located deep within the cerebrum. It controls some of the body's most important functions, including movement and our ability to acquire habits, both good and bad. The region is also connected to several serious diseases and disorders, including Parkinson's and Huntington's disease, Tourette's syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depression and addiction. She and her colleagues have made several large discoveries about the fundamental architecture of this brain region and the neurotransmitters involved in its processes.

While in Oregon, Graybiel will visit the lab of OHSU neuroscientist Fay Horak, Ph.D., who is conducting research along the same lines as Graybiel. Horak investigates neurological disorders that cause balance problems such as Parkinson's disease. Specifically, Horak is studying brain communications regarding body position and balance. Her state-of-the-art lab is able to do this through the use of moving platforms, cameras and computerized body positioning systems. A patient, researchers and staff will be on hand to demonstrate these research techniques.

In addition to Graybiel and Horak, attendees will include Kim Burchiel, M.D., chairman of OHSU's Department of Neurological Surgery. Burchiel will be able to discuss the use of implanted electrical stimulation devices to reduce some of the effects of Parkinson's disease and other disorders. John Hammerstad, M.D., co-founder of the Parkinson Center of Oregon at OHSU will also be on hand along with representatives from Parkinson's Resources of Oregon, a statewide advocacy association.

Graybiel received her bachelor's magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1964, her master's in biology from Tufts University in 1966, and her doctorate in psychology and brain science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1971. She currently serves as Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Neuroscience and investigator at the McGovern Institute at MIT.

Particulars: Kim Burchiel, M.D., John Raaf Professor and chairman of neurological surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine
Fay Horak, Ph.D., P.T., senior scientist in the Neurological Sciences Institute; and
professor of neurology, and physiology and pharmacology in the OHSU School of Medicine
John Hammerstad, M.D., co-founder of the Parkinson Center of Oregon; and professor of neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine

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