Brain plasticity symposium for Auckland

Posted: January 18, 2015 at 8:41 pm

A world authority on the brains natural ability to form new neuronal connections will speak at New Zealands first Neuroplasticity Symposium in Auckland soon.

The symposium, at the University of Aucklands Grafton campus on Wednesday 4 February, will feature Emeritus Professor Michael Merzenich from the University of California, the leading pioneer in brain plasticity research.

Keynote speakers include Professor Tony Hannan, an expert on gene-environment interactions and experience dependent plasticity, from the University of Melbourne; and leading neuroplasticity researchers from the University of Aucklands Centre for Brain Research (CBR), including Melanie Cheung, Greg Finucane, Johanna Montgomery, Cathie Stinear, and Karen Waldie. (The CBR is sponsoring the symposium).

The speakers will present the most recent developments on how neuroplasticity can be harnessed in novel and imaginative treatments for brain diseases, environmental enrichment for brain plasticity, the science behind neuroplasticity, and the clinical applications of these treatments.

The day will conclude with a panel discussion on neuroplasticity.

Professor Merzenichs visit to New Zealand includes a public lecture at the University of Aucklands Grafton campus on Tuesday 3 February (from 5.30pm to 7pm), titled "Brain Plasticity based therapeutics".

He will also talk to audiologists on the clinical applications of auditory plasticity, particularly in relation to auditory rehabilitation.

Professor Merzenich is a leading pioneer in brain plasticity research who led a research team that conducted extensive, original research that is the basis for the development and application of multiple-channel cochlear implants.

More recently he has dedicated his time to delivering brain plasticity-based training programmes from bench to bedside at minimal cost. Using these therapies, he and his team have helped more than five million children overcome their learning disabilities.

In 2002 he co-founded Posit Science, which produces and delivers computer-based programmes to help aging, psychiatrically impaired, and brain-injured populations. He has published more than 150 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals (including both Science and Nature), been granted nearly 100 patents for his work, and received numerous awards and prizes such as the Russ Prize, Ipsen Prize, Zlch Prize, Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award and the Purkinje Medal.

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Brain plasticity symposium for Auckland

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