McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Brain Awareness Week features lectures by Canadian astronaut David Williams

Published: March 12, 2008
David Williams
Canadian astronaut David Williams

Canadian astronaut David Williams will give two lectures for Brain Awareness Week from March 10 to 14.

The first lecture, Neuroscience Research in Space from Plasticity to Performance, will occur during the Psychiatry Grand Rounds on Wednesday, March 12 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in MDCL Room 3020.

Space exploration results present a number of physiologic challenges related to living and working in an extreme environment.

The space microgravity environment results in a number of adaptations that affect all aspects of physiologic function, particularly that of the nervous system.

This presentation will review the results of the 26 scientific experiments conducted during the NeuroLab spaceflight, a mission dedicated to space neuroscience research.

Ranging from studies on neuronal plasticity, perception, sensory and motor function as well as developmental neurobiology to clinical issues related to human adaptation to space, the experimental results have tremendous application to clinical neuroscience.

In celebration of the importance of neuroscience research, histological specimens from the collection of Santiago Ramon Y Cajal were flown in space during the mission and a photograph of one of the specimens will be presented to McMaster University with support from Neuroscience Canada.

The second lecture will take place in the Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour Colloquium on Thursday, March 13 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Psychology Building, Room 155.

In his talk, My Brain in Space, Williams will discuss behavioral and cognitive challenges associated with working in the extreme harsh environment of space, and the strategies that have been developed for assisting crews working in space and in preparation for future missions to the Moon and Mars. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

The lectures are jointly hosted by McMaster University, the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences through an unrestricted grant from GlaxoKlineSmith, the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour and The Brain-Body Institute at St. Joseph's Healthcare.

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