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OHSU announces Brain Awareness Season lecture series

CALENDAR ALERT: Neuroscientists will share how the brain experiences pleasure, brain-computer interface and the anti-vax movement



Oregon Health & Science University’s annual Brain Awareness Season lecture series marks 20 years this year, featuring a trio of nationally recognized neuroscientists and shedding new light on the most fantastically complex organism on Earth: the human brain.

Hosted by the OHSU Brain Institute, this year’s featured presentations cover new advances in brain-computer interface technologies; deconstructing myths around vaccines and autism; and a multimedia discussion and concert revealing how the brain responds to music, love and chocolate.


Monday, March 30; Wednesday, May 27; and Monday, June 29. All lectures start at 7 p.m.


Newmark Theater, 1111 S.W. Broadway, Portland


Larry Sherman, Ph.D.
Larry Sherman, Ph.D.

March 30th: The Neuroscience of Pleasure--How your brain responds to music, love and chocolate

Larry Sherman, Ph.D., professor in the Division of Neuroscience at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center.

Listening to beautiful music, falling in love and eating really good chocolate create intense feelings of pleasure – but why? Sherman, joined by the Portland Chamber Orchestra and singer Naomi LaViolette, presents a fascinating multimedia discussion and concert on how the brain experiences pleasure. Diving into exciting new research – including what happens to the brain when love goes awry – and what we can learn from the monogamous prairie vole, Sherman mixes music, humor and neuroscience. This lecture and performance will include a 15-minute intermission and end at 9 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase.

Leigh Hochberg, M.D., Ph.D.
Leigh Hochberg, M.D., Ph.D.

May 27: Machines and the Mind: Advances in brain-computer interface

Leigh Hochberg, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Neurotechnology and Neurorecovery at Massachusetts General Hospital

Hochberg shares the latest advancements in brain-computer interface systems. His pioneering BrainGate clinical trials demonstrate how these technologies could provide communication and mobility for people with paralysis. With these groundbreaking tools, Hochberg presents a path to unlocking minds that have been, up until now, trapped by their condition. Tickets are available for purchase.

Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D.
Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D.

June 29: Vaccines: Autism and Other Myths – Solving today’s public health crisis

Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine.

The progress made by organizations like UNICEF, GAVI and the World Health Organization to eliminate major childhood diseases has stalled due in part to an aggressive anti-vax movement. A campaign based on pseudo-science and misinformation has brought the return of the measles to the U.S. and Europe and prevented many children from receiving HPV vaccines for cervical cancer. In addition, the convergence of wars, political conflicts and climate change are causing a rise in preventable illnesses in developing countries. To raise public understanding of the anti-vax movement and debunk the myths tied to this potential public health crisis, Hotez will share his concept of a new “vaccine diplomacy” and his own personal story of raising a child with autism. Tickets are available for purchase.


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