How well do you know your own brain?

Neuroscience Graduate Students' Association Brain Awareness Week aims to celebrate research and educate the public.

Shelby Soke - 03 March 2017

"People get really intimidated when you say you study neuroscience," laughs graduate student Katherine Mifflin. "Your brain and nervous system encompass everything you do, so it really does affect everyone. We want to get people excited about brain science."

Mifflin is the president of the Neuroscience Graduate Students Association (NGSA), a group that's hoping to bring brain science to the front of people's minds during their annual Brain Awareness Week events. Brain Awareness Week, which runs from March 10-17, is a worldwide initiative to help raise awareness of brain research and advocate for neuroscience-related funding.

"Neuroscience research is really important and exciting, but the general public doesn't have much exposure to it, even though it can have a huge impact on them," says Mifflin.

From stroke research and spinal cord injuries to Alzheimer's disease and mental health, the University of Alberta has a wealth of research expertise in neuroscience. This can be attributed to high calibre research infrastructure, such as a dedicated research MRI that is unique among universities, and opportunities for interdisciplinary research collaboration, such as the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute (NMHI).

"As Canada's population continues to age, neuroscience research will be even more important as more people will experience neurodegenerative conditions," says Mifflin, who is currently studying chronic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Check out these Brain Awareness Week events for all ages:

NHMI Research Day 2017 - A Celebration of success in Neuroscience
Friday, March 10, 2017
Bernard Snell Hall, University of Alberta Hospital

8:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Welcome & Student Presentations
10:15 a.m. - 11 a.m. Poster Session
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Student Presentations
12:15p.m. - 1p.m. Lunch
1p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Student Presentations
2:15 p.m. - 3 p.m. Poster Session
3 p.m. - 4 p.m. Keynote Address
4 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. Closing Remarks

This year's keynote speaker is Jack Gallant, Chancellor's Professor of Psychology at University of California Berkeley and expert of the structure and function of the visual system.

Spotlight on Stroke
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Allard Family Lecture Theatre
(1080 Katz Group Building)

Join a panel of experts for a discussion on how neuroscience can help us better understand stroke and stroke rehabilitation.

7:00 p.m. - Doors open/Poster Viewing
7:30 p.m. - Lecture
Reception to follow.

Brain Awareness Week at Telus World of Science
March 11 - 12, 2017

The NSGA will be set up at Telus World of Science teaching kids about science in a fun and engaging way. There will be hands-on learning opportunities to spark their interest in neuroscience.