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NeuroSociety Stories with Science Communicator Jayatri Das

March 12, 2024

In January, we launched a video series that shares unique stories and experiences on connecting brain science to societal goals and community values. “NeuroSociety Stories” highlights these connections through conversations with grantees, partners, and individuals dedicated to brain science for a better future.

The debut of its second episode fittingly takes place during Brain Awareness Week—a global campaign all about public science outreach and accessible learning—and features Jayatri Das, Ph.D., chief bioscientist of Philadelphia’s celebrated Franklin Institute.

The Franklin Institute was awarded a Dana Foundation grant in 2022 to update its Neuroscience & Society high school curriculum (originally developed in 2017 through funding from the National Institutes of Health) to offer a more in-depth focus on brain science through the lens of societal issues relevant to teens. The curriculum is broken up into seven units and offers comprehensive lessons on the following topics:

  • Neurons & Anatomy
  • Education & Development
  • Current Methods in Neuroscience
  • Mental Health & Well-being
  • Substance Use & Addiction
  • Law & Criminology
  • Future Technologies

The grant was awarded under the Foundation’s Education program, which funds projects that extend beyond basic education and stress the broader societal connections of neuroscience both inside and outside the traditional classroom setting.

TFI’s curriculum, designed for students in grades 10-12, emphasizes critical thinking skills, dialogue, and the application of scientific knowledge to real-world situations. The ultimate goal is to inspire students to continue learning, think critically about science, and confidently apply their knowledge in everyday life.

An evolutionary biologist by training, Das has made public engagement in science her mission, having led the development of Your Brain, a national award-winning exhibit about neuroscience and psychology, and continuing to lead TFI’s programming initiatives covering other branches of science: materials science, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and other areas of emerging science that have the potential to impact our everyday lives.

In her conversation with Dana President Caroline Montojo, Das discusses the importance of public engagement in science—particularly neuroscience—and the role of education in fostering meaningful connections between scientists and the broader community.

You can access the curriculum for free on The Franklin Institute’s website. Watch the full episode of “NeuroSociety Stories” featuring Jayatri Das, and check out our first episode with Pierre Magistretti here. In the meantime, enjoy this bonus clip from Das on the impact her Neuroscience & Society Curriculum has had so far.


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