Neuroscience Event Aims to Raise Public’s Awareness of How the Brain Functions

UC Riverside Neuroscience Graduate Student Association to host “Brain Awareness Day” on campus April 22

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Worldwide, 47.5 million people have dementia, and each year there are 7.7 million new cases.  In 2030, 75.6 million people are projected to have dementia; in 2050 that number rises to 135.5 million.

In the face of such statistics, awareness of the brain and its working is more than a welcome idea.  To increase the public’s awareness of how the brain functions and to bring people up to speed with progress made in brain research, the Neuroscience Graduate Student Association at the University of California, Riverside is hosting a Brain Awareness Day on campus.  Last year’s event attracted nearly 450 people.

This year, the event will assume the form of a fair. It is free of charge and will take place Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in the Highlander Union Building.  Demos and information booths will be open from 10 a.m. to noon (Rooms 355, 367 and 379). Faculty talks on the brain will take place from noon to 1 p.m. (Room 302).

“Our vast variety of booths and demos include an activity where you can record actual neuronal impulses using your smartphone, a video game designed to help improve your hearing, an activity that shows how we localize sound, sheep brains, and much more!” said Zoe Thompson, a UC Riverside neuroscience graduate student.  She and fellow graduate student Matt Valdez are coordinators of this year’s event.

At the fair, graduate students with research relevant to neuroscience and psychology will run mini-experiments for audience viewing, present research posters, and in some cases allow visitors to try out lab equipment for themselves.

Following the booth presentations will be three faculty research talks highlighting current research at UCR.   Speakers are Anandasankar Ray, an associate professor of entomology; Hyle Park, an assistant professor of bioengineering; and Seema Tiwari-Woodruff, an associate professor of biomedical sciences.

“At UCR, we have many diverse faculty members conducting cutting edge research aimed at both basic science investigations and the development of clinically relevant therapies,” Valdez said.  “Altogether, they share a passion for the exciting field of neuroscience as well as a commitment to better understanding the brain and the impact it has on our lives.”

Students from Colton High School and San Bernardino High Schools will be attending Brain Awareness Day at UCR.

“We are partnering with a graduate student from UCR’s Educational Psychology program to gauge what the high school students learn from the event and the overall impact it has on students’ interest in going to college to pursue careers in science,” Valdez said.

The visiting high school students will have the opportunity to interact with UCR undergraduates and graduate students, and will get hands-on experience with science that is based on research being carried out in UCR labs.

“It’s an open event, so any UCR students and employees as well as community members are welcome to stop by to learn about the neuroscience work being done today at UCR,” Valdez said. “We welcome anyone interested in learning more about the brain and current neuroscience research to stop by.”

Parking information can be found here.

Brain Awareness Day at UCR is sponsored by the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience; the Department of Psychology; the Office of the Chancellor; the Graduate Division; the Center for Glial-Neuronal Interactions, the School of Medicine; the Graduate Student Association; and the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

More information about the event can be obtained by emailing or

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