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Neuroscience Graduate Students Host Brain Awareness Activities in Community

April 5, 2017 by Jennifer Nachbur

The intricacies of neuroimaging tools, brain health and disease, and brain safety were the themes of educational presentations brought to greater Burlington, Vt.-area elementary, middle and high school students by doctoral candidates in the University of Vermont Neuroscience Graduate Program in honor of Brain Awareness Week in March.

UVM Neuroscience Graduate Student Megan Perkins teaches Founder’s Memorial School students about the brain during Brain Awareness Week 2017. (Courtesy photo)

The intricacies of neuroimaging tools, brain health and disease, and brain safety were the themes of educational presentations brought to greater Burlington, Vt.-area elementary, middle and high school students by doctoral candidates in the University of Vermont Neuroscience Graduate Program in honor of Brain Awareness Week in March. The activities aimed to promote the public and personal benefits of brain research.

Officially, the national Brain Awareness Week took place March 13-19, 2017, but the graduate students’ educational outreach to the community included and extended beyond that week to the end of March. Neuroscience graduate student Estelle Spear was the lead organizer of the series of outreach events.

Spear and James Bishop, both fifth-year doctoral students, taught students at Winooski High School about how imaging technology like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) are used clinically and in neuroscience research. Bishop’s mentor is Magdalena Naylor, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, and Spear’s mentor is Gary Mawe, Ph.D., professor of neurological sciences.

First-year Neuroscience Graduate Program students Yu Han and Megan Perkins presented fun brain facts to elementary school students at Founder’s Memorial School in Essex. Students Katharine Tooke, Alisha Linton, and Patrick Mullen spent a day at Morrisville, Vt.-based People’s Academy High School teaching students about the brain in health and disease, as well as brain safety.

Neuroscience graduate students Mahafuza Aktar and Patrick Mullen brought brain specimens for the  sessions they taught at Winooski High School as part of Brain Awareness Week.