UChicago neuroscience experts to give TED-style talks on latest breakthroughs

What treatments are on the horizon for people with brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia? Might people with tetraplegia or lost limbs ever touch, feel or manipulate objects again? Why do you sometimes choke under pressure even when you’re well prepared for a tough exam, big game or important speech? Why would a free rat help a trapped fellow rat rather than devour a piece of proffered chocolate?

These questions and more will be answered by University of Chicago neuroscience experts during “Brain Teasers: Cracking the Mind’s Toughest Riddles,” the latest installment of the UChicago Discovery Series, a public speaker series at the University of Chicago that features the latest research from the University as well as talks and discussions of major scientific advances.

The April 1 event, sponsored by the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories, will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Performance Hall at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. Advanced registration is requested to help gauge attendance for the event. Please RSVP here.

The event’s speakers are all members of UChicago’s new Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology, and Human Behavior. They will give short talks, followed by questions from the audience, that will discuss the latest brain-science breakthroughs and provide fascinating insights into our brains, bodies and behavior.

Speakers will include Sian Beilock, professor in psychology and vice provost for Academic Initiatives; Sliman Bensmaia, assistant professor in organismal biology and anatomy; Peggy Mason, professor in neurobiology; and James Mastrianni, associate professor in neurology and co-director of the Center for Comprehensive Care and Research on Memory Disorders

“The goal of the Grossman Institute is to represent neuroscience across the whole university,” says John Maunsell, the Albert D. Lasker Professor in Neurobiology and director of the Grossman Institute, who will moderate the discussion.

“We’re trying to understand the core of the brain: the precise interaction that occurs between all of these cells and all of these structures, and all of these nuclei that makeup something like a thought,” says Maunsell. “Once we understand that, everything else is going to fall into place. Suddenly we’ll know what autism is. We’ll know what schizophrenia is. We’ll know all the various ways that a brain can go wrong and we’ll be in a much stronger position to treat those disorders.”

Spanning a diverse range of fields from medicine, computation, social science, molecular engineering and physics, neuroscience researchers at UChicago are working to advance our understanding of the brain, as well as other aspects of human endeavor and performance, paving the way for the next generation of treatments for neurological disease and mental illness.

Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the Logan Center, at the corner of Drexel Avenue and 60th Street, and is free after 4 p.m. Café Logan will be open.