Press Release

6 Mar 2013

Scientists present brain awareness week lecture and neuroscience fair

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Researchers from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Van Andel Institute, the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center at Saint Mary’s Health Care, and Spectrum Health create interactive exhibit to raise awareness for brain research.

Grand Rapids, Mich. (March 6, 2013) – Have you ever wondered how a brain really looks and feels, or what happens to your brain when you hit your head, or how you can keep your brain healthy? Find out during Brain Awareness Week at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Events kick off with a public lecture on Parkinson’s disease research, March 12, followed by an interactive Neuroscience Fair, March 14-16, at 272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids.

The Brain Awareness Week Neuroscience Fair is presented by Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s Udall Center for Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research team, together with neuroscientists at Van Andel Institute, the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center at Saint Mary’s Health Care, and Spectrum Health.

“Brain Awareness Week is a word-wide celebration of the brain for people of all ages,” said Kathy Steece-Collier, PhD, event organizer and professor, Department of Translational Science & Molecular Medicine, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. “As neuroscience researchers, this is the perfect opportunity for all of us to actually show and tell people about the exciting work being done right here in Grand Rapids and demonstrate why brain research is so important.”

BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK EVENTS:
Jay Van Andel Parkinson’s Disease Lecture – March 12 (Tuesday, 6 pm)
Kathleen M. Shannon, MD, professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical College, presents “What causes Parkinson’s disease? New genetic and environmental clues,” at 6 pm, at the Grand Rapids Public Museum Auditorium. This lecture is free and the public is invited.
Dr. Shannon will deliver a Scientific Lecture on March 12 at 12:00 pm at Van Andel Institute. This lecture is also free and open to the public.

Neuroscience Fair March 14 – 16 (Thursday – Saturday, 9 am – 4 pm)
Meet scientists from Michigan State University, Van Andel Institute, and the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center at Saint Mary’s and learn about the marvels of the brain – from how it looks and feels and works – to how to keep it healthy. This amazing, interactive exhibit is ideal for kids and grown ups of all ages! Exhibits include: Brain surgery with deep brain stimulation on a Jello brain; Brain tricks and optical illusions; Extracting DNA from a banana; Mirror Drawing to test your motor learning; Examining the unique role of brains in different mammals demonstrated with a Dog Behavior exhibit; Seeing and touching real human brains, and more! Enter to win a bicycle or equestrian riding helmet, donated by Grand Rapids Bicycle Company, West Michigan Bike and Millbrook Tack. General admission to the Grand Rapids Public Museum is $8 for adults, $3 for children ages 3-18 (under 2 free), senior citizens $7. There is no additional charge for participating in the Brain Awareness Week Neuroscience Fair. The public is invited to join in the fun.

ABOUT DR. KATHLEEN SHANNON
Kathleen M. Shannon, M.D., is a movement disorders neurologist with more than 20 years of experience in the care of Parkinson’s disease patients, as well as clinical research into the causes and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. She received her MD from Rush Medical College and completed her medicine internship, neurology residency and movement disorders fellowship at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, now Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Shannon’s clinical practice focuses on Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, dystonia and other movement disorders. Her research interest is experimental therapeutics in movement disorders. She is the director of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence at Rush University Medical Center.

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About Van Andel Institute

Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) is dedicated to strengthening science education and preparing and motivating individuals to pursue science or science-related professions. Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), the research arm of VAI, is dedicated to probing the genetic, cellular and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and working to translate those findings into effective therapies. This is accomplished through the work of over 200 researchers and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe.