Brain Awareness Week 2008

Summary

On March 24-28, Colorado State University volunteer undergraduates, graduate students, fellows, staff and faculty from 13 departments across 5 colleges partnered together to participate in Brain Awareness Week (BAW), coordinated by Cynthia Smeraski, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences. More than 250 ninth grade students from 10 biology classes at Preston Junior High explored the inner workings of the nervous system through slide presentations, videos and 15 hands-on activity stations presented by the volunteers at the junior high.  The BAW program has been incorporated into the ninth grade science curriculum at Preston for the past 5 years. The success of this year’s program was primarily due to the team effort of over 100 volunteers from across CSU departments and colleges, Front Range Neuroscience Group, Front Range Community College faculty, members of the Fort Collins community and two Colorado based biotechnical firms, ADInstruments of Colorado Springs and Physiom of Fort Collins. The increase in volunteer participation permitted an enhanced climate for individual student engagement, accompanied by longer periods for students to be involved in scientific inquiry about each station topic. Topics of this year’s hands-on activity exhibits included:

Neuromuscular junction in drosophila
Comparative Vertebrate brains with preserved specimens
Preserved Human brains, eyes, spinal cord and spinal nerves
Human brain research: EEGs and computers
EMGs (ADInstruments)
Action Potentials/electrophysiology (Physiom)
Neurobiology of Ecstasy
Chemical Senses
Vision
Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease/neurodegeneration
Stroke
Traumatic Brain Injury/bicycle helmet safety (guest teen with TBI)

Presentors

The Front Range Neuroscience Group provided primary support of materials necessary for each of CSU’s activity stations. CSU volunteers involved in this year’s program were from the following Colleges and Departments and illustrates the breadth and complexity of systems across which researchers/students of the nervous system integrate.

Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences: Departments of Biomedical Sciences, Environmental & Radiological Health Sciences and Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology
Natural Sciences : Departments of Psychology, Biology, Computer Sciences and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Applied Human Sciences: Departments of Occupational Therapy, Food Science & Human Nutrition, Human Development & Family Studies, School of Education
Agricultural Sciences: Department of Animal Sciences
Engineering: Department of Mechanical Engineering