Two internationally known scientists are coming to Galveston to talk about new research on the human brain.
On Feb. 6, David C. Van Essen, a principal investigator with the Human Connectome Project, will talk about a map of the brain that made worldwide news.
On March 6, Norman Doidge, the best-selling author of “The Brain That Changes Itself,” will talk about how the brain heals from injury or disease.
Van Essen and Doidge are the final speakers in the Robert and Russell Moody Lecture Series, which has explored consciousness and the lifecycle of the brain.
The whole goal of the lecture series is to open the door to anyone interested in learning something about their brains. The lectures are free and open to the public. It’s a rare opportunity for anybody living in Galveston to learn from internationally known brain researchers.
Van Essen, a Harvard-trained neuroscientist, has described himself as “a cortical cartographer.” In 2016, he was a leader of a team that published a map that detailed 180 regions of the brain — 97 of which had not previously been known.
In his lecture in Galveston, Van Essen will talk about the development of the new brain map and will outline what these new findings tell us about how our brains work.
He began his work in the 1960s, using a pencil and tracing paper to try to give a map of the areas of the brain that were then known. He’s followed that interest through revolutionary changes in computers, imaging technology and neuroscience.
Doidge, a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst, emphasizes the neuroplasticity of the brain — that is, how the brain is able to change to heal and compensate for injury or illness. He will present cases that illustrate how neuroplasticity can explain the ability of the brain to heal itself.
While both of these scientists do highly technical research, they will present their talks in ordinary language that any interested child or adult can understand.
If you’re a teenager, come on your own. If you’re a parent, take your children.
These lectures will provide information and insights for anyone who is curious about the lives of our brains.