Seventy-Three Countries Gear Up for Brain Awareness Week®

February 25, 2008



Ann Whitman
(212) 223-4040

Johanna Goldberg
(212) 223-4040

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives coordinates international campaign

            New York, NY, February 25, 2008 — Eight years after the “Decade of the Brain,” public interest in neuroscience is still growing, as evidenced by the millions of people who will attend public activities, lectures, and exhibitions in celebration of Brain Awareness Week (BAW), March 10-16

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, founder and coordinator of the campaign, and more than 2,100 partner organizations in 73 countries will celebrate the progress of brain research.  Partners include universities, hospitals, patient advocacy groups, professional associations, government agencies, and K-12 schools.

“Brain Awareness Week is an excellent indicator of how the progress of brain research has resonated internationally,” notes Edward F. Rover, president of the Dana Foundation.  “People want to know what is happening in the science and how it will affect them and their families.”

Each year Dana Alliance neuroscientists reach out to the public by organizing events based on their areas of expertise. This year, Dr. Judy Illes, University of British Columbia, will give two lectures in Vancouver, Canada, exploring neuroethical issues raised by advances in neuroscience.  Her initial talk will address how neuroimaging may soon be able to detect subjective feeling of pain.  The second lecture second will focus on behavior and criminal responsibility.

In Albuquerque, Dr. Robert Malenka, Stanford University, will give the keynote address on synaptic plasticity and the brain’s response to experience at the University of New Mexico’s Neuroscience Day.  The day will also feature a reception, poster session, and the annual presentation of teaching and research awards.  Dr. Peter McLaren Black, Harvard Medical School, a long-time BAW organizer, will lead a public discussion based on his book Living with a Brain Tumor: Dr. Peter Black’s Guide to Taking Control of Your Treatment.  The event will take place at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

BAW is also a time when organizations use varied mediums to present brain-related topics.  Wake Forest University and Targacept, a biopharmaceutical company, are promoting a play by Arthur Kopit about a recovering stroke victim.  The play will be held on the Wake Forest campus in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Following the performance, Wake Forest professors Jeffrey M. Craig, neurology; Dwayne Godwin, neurobiology/anatomy; and Cindy Gendrich, theater, will lead an open forum discussion.

A substantial number of BAW activities engage the interest of young students through interactive events. James River High School in Midlothian, Virginia has planned videos and songs, a daily trivia contest open to students and faculty, and hands-on dissections of sheep brains and eyes. At Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fair, third and fourth grade students from local Pennsylvania elementary schools will have the chance to grade neuroscience projects presented by University of Pennsylvania undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty.

The Dana Foundation News Office is releasing briefing papers on deep brain stimulation and post traumatic stress disorder, featuring the research and commentary of noted neuroscientists, including Dana Alliance members Dr. Steven E. Hyman, Harvard University; Dr. Jordan Grafman, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH; and Dr. Helen Mayberg, Emory University.

The Dana Alliance hosts a BAW Web site for the public at, which includes an international events calendar, education resources, downloadable graphics, puzzles, publications, and general information.  

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives is a nonprofit organization of more than 265 leading neuroscientists, including ten Nobel laureates, committed to advancing public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. It is supported by the Dana Foundation, a private philanthropic organization with particular interests in neuroscience, immunology, and arts education.



Brain Awareness Week® is a federally registered mark of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.