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Release: March 13, 2000

Internationally known neuroscientist to visit UI as part of Brain Awareness Week

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Former University of Iowa professor and internationally known neuroscientist Rodolfo Llinas will present this year's Brain Awareness Week lecture.

Llinas' talk, titled, "Neurons and the Generation of Consciousness: Thalamocortical Resonance in Global Brain Function," will begin at 7 p.m., Monday, March 20 in the Buchanan Auditorium, W10 Pappajohn Business Administration Building.

Llinas has had a long and distinguished career researching brain function all the way from the level of single nerve cells, to circuits of connected cells, to the functioning of the entire brain. Some of Llinas' major research contributions have included pioneering studies of how nerve cells communicate with one another (investigated in the giant synapse of squid) and of how networks of neurons generate complex kinds of electrical activity patterns.

He is currently investigating loops of activity that connect the cerebellum and the thalamus to the neocortex. This research has important implications for the understanding of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases, and for the elucidation of a neural basis for consciousness.

"Rodolfo Llinas has made several seminal contributions to neuroscience, and his talks are always provocative," said Antonio Damasio, M.D., UI professor and head of neurology.

Llinas, currently the chair of the department of physiology and neuroscience and the Thomas and Suzanne Murphy Professor of Neuroscience at New York University, spent several years as a professor in the UI department of physiology and biophysics during the 1970s. He served as head of the division of neurobiology.

A poster session preceding Llinas' talk will showcase the work of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty doing neuroscience research at the UI.

The national Brain Awareness Week campaign, now in its fifth year, is sponsored the Society of Neuroscience with The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and a coalition of more than 440 science, advocacy and other health organizations that share an interest in elevating public awareness of brain and nervous system research.

For more information about the poster session or the lecture, contact Andrea Heberlein at 384-9025.

For more information on neuroscience at the UI, including photos of school visits from last year, please see: http://www.uiowa.edu/~interdis/.

For more information on other Brain Awareness Week activities around the country, see: http://www.sfn.org/BAW/.

For fun neuroscience information and activities for kids of all ages, go to: http://www.beemnet.com/ or http:sidwell.edu/~bio21/brainweek/.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.