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Chapter Showcase

Tucson Chapter Brain Awareness Outreach
  The Tucson chapter Brain Awareness activities were a great success, with more than 600 people visiting their "Brain Works" exhibit to explore the wonders of the brain.


A brain zoo featuring over 20 brains included a real human brain and half of a beluga whale brain.



Taking a look at Golgi stains of
cortical neurons.


 KOLD Channel 13, a local TV station featured the Tucson chapter outreach.

The eat-a-brain station had participants memorize the placement of five functional tags to taste their favorite part of the brain.
Vermont Chapter 5th Annual Neuroscience Research Forum



  The Vermont chapter forum drew more than 120 attendees for two days of neuroscience outreach, education, and discussion.


Grass Traveling Lecturer, Dr. Quinones-Hinojosa speaks to the chapter about his brain cancer research and patient treatment.



A panel engages the audience with discussions of  public advocacy and communication in science.


  Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa interacts with student members and visits poster presentations.

Learn about the activities of featured SfN chapters from around the world and get ideas for your own chapter. To highlight your chapter's activities, e-mail

Tucson Chapter
Brain Awareness Week 2010 Outreach

The Tucson chapter kicked Brain Awareness Week 2010 outreach into high gear at the annual University of Arizona (UA) Book Festival, an event that attracts more than 50,000 people. The chapter hosted a science pavilion, along with the Bio5 Institute, where attendees could learn about the brain through a “Brain Works” exhibit.

The “Brain Works” exhibit offered the community reading materials from the Dana Foundation and the Society for Neuroscience, as well as a presentation showcasing the fascinating brain research from 40 UA campus laboratories. The exhibit also allowed the public to participate in a variety of activities specifically designed to teach and generate interest in neuroscience. Over 20 chapter volunteers managed the exhibit and the chapter estimates that more than 600 people stopped by  in the course of two days.

Below are examples of activities the Tucson chapter organized:

Brain Zoo
A brain zoo showcased 20 preserved real brains including a human brain, a human spinal cord, and a whale brain. The station also included a microscope that focused samples of beautiful Golgi stains of cortical neurons.

Taste vs. Smell Jelly Bean Demonstration
Blind folded participants, mostly 10 years old or younger, volunteered to taste jelly beans and guess theflavors when their noses were pinched and when they were not. Flavors, such as cinnamon and chocolate, require smell to be able to identify them, while other flavors, such as lemon, can be differentiated by tongue receptors only.

Kids Corner
Young aspiring neuroscientists were invited to color the various sections of the brain and then to recite the names of the parts out loud. The Kids Corner also allowed youngsters to create neurons out of colorful pipe cleaners that were added to a neural network wall.

The most daring visitors memorized the placement of five functional tags (vision, audition, touch, movement, and planning) on a Jell-O brain, and, if they could remember their placement successfully, were then allowed to taste their favorite brain area.

Prism Glasses and Visual Adaptation
This station gave visistors an opportunity to see how the brain adapts to 30 degree shifts in the visual world with prism glasses. Classical visual illusions such as the scintillating grid, Mach bands, Rubin vase, and peripheral drift were also included.

This station displayed pictures of the homunculus and a two-point discrimination threshold demonstration.

The Tucson chapter’s outreach was featured on local TV stations and in the University of Arizona, newsletter, UANews.

For information about the Tucson chapter and their 2010 BAW outreach visit the chapter’s Web site.


Vermont Chapter
5th Annual Neuroscience Research Forum

The 5th Annual Neuroscience Research Forum hosted by the Vermont chapter and The University of Vermont (UVM) Neuroscience Graduate Program, was a resounding success. Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, the chapter’s Grass Traveling Scientist, kicked off the meeting with a keynote talk on “Brain Cancer: Current Paradigms.” This remarkable presentation covered the multidisciplinary approaches he uses in treating brain cancer patients and his basic research program on stem cells isolated from brain tumors. Dr. Quinones-Hinojosa, who rose from humble origins as a migrant farm worker in California to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon and physician scientist at Johns Hopkins University, inspired the entire audience by his passion for science and medicine. The presentation was supported by the SfN Grass Traveling Scientist Program, which allows chapters to engage in and foster neuroscience education at the local level.

During the second day of the event, attendees viewed 48 posters, of which 22 were presented by graduate students and 2 by undergraduates. Reviewers were assigned to each of the student posters and presentations were evaluated for $50 cash awards. In all, four graduate students and both undergraduates received awards. The forum continued with a session on “New Perspectives in Neuroscience” and three short talks highlighting new areas of collaboration possible within the university community. The forum was also supported by the SfN Chapter Grant mechanism, which promotes novel initiatives linked to neuroscience literacy, education, and training.

The second day also included a lively advocacy discussion, “Public Advocacy and Communication in Science,” with guests Melody Burkins, Senior Director for Research and Strategic Initiatives at UVM and former scientific liaison for Sen. Patrick Leahy; Kelly VanKoughnet, VP, Corporate Affairs, Council of Canadian Academies, who has a PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard Medical School; and Jennifer Nachbur, Senior Public Relations Specialist for the UVM College of Medicine.

Chapters are critical to the success of SfN advocacy and animal research activities. One way to help your chapter enhance its advocacy efforts is to use a grant to host a laboratory tour and invite local policymakers to see the benefits of research first hand. To learn more about exciting advocacy and animal research activities, contact