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The University of Texas at Dallas, P.O. Box 830688, Richardson, Texas 75083-0688

News Release

News contact: Jenni Bullington, UTD, (972) 883-4431, [email protected]
Jon Senderling, UTD, (972) 883-2565, [email protected]

'Reprogramming the Human Brain' To Be Subject
Of Major Scientific Conference in Dallas April 10-11

Event Sponsored By Three Leading Research Centers

Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, director of UTD's Center for BrainHealthDALLAS, Texas (March 10, 2003) - Two Nobel laureates and more than a dozen other experts on the human brain will participate in a scientific conference here April 10-11 sponsored by three leading area research centers - the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the Neuroscience Center at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.

The groundbreaking conference, which will bring together scientists and physicians, will focus on the "plasticity" of the human brain - that is, the brain's capacity to repair or "rewire" itself - and how to translate new research developments in brain science into clinical practice. The conference, which will not be open to the public, will be held at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, director of UTD's Center for BrainHealth and principal organizer of the conference, said presentations at the two-day event will highlight breakthroughs in directing brain recovery through active learning, neural transplantation, stimulation and excision, as well as biochemical and pharmacological approaches.

"We will feature some of the most distinguished investigators in the country on such topics as rewiring the brain through learning and rehabilitation, stem cell therapy in brain repair, brain plasticity and drug addiction, brain remodeling and regeneration after injury and measuring brain plasticity at the level of neurotransmitters and at a global level through functional brain imaging," Chapman said. "This symposium will bring basic scientists together with healthcare professionals in an effort to help bridge the gap between basic brain research and human clinical treatments. Great strides are being made in brain health, and most experts in the field expect the rapid emergence of even more significant breakthroughs in the coming years."

Two luminaries in the field of brain research - Dr. Torsten Wiesel of Rockefeller University and Dr. David Hubel of Harvard - will address the conference and be honored for the collaboration for which they won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1981 along with the late Dr. Roger Sperry. Sperry was awarded the prize that year for his discoveries concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres, and Wiesel and Hubel won for their discoveries related to information processing in the visual system. Wiesel and Hubel's work provided the clearest example of the clinical applicability of neuroscience research in brain reorganization.

Wiesel and Hubel will lead discussions on the most promising directions in brain science and the importance of international collaborations in achieving rapid developments in this important new frontier of medicine - brain repair.

Other speakers at the conference will include Dr. Chapman, Dr. Roberto Cabeza of Duke University, Dr. Charles D. Gilbert of The Rockefeller University, Dr. Steven Kernie of UT Southwestern, Dr. Michael Kilgard of UTD, Dr. Stephen Lomber of UTD, Dr. Michael Merzenich of the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Eric Nestler of UT Southwestern, Dr. Paul Sanberg of the University of South Florida, Dr. Thomas C. Sudhof of UT Southwestern, Dr. Mriganka Sur of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dr. Keith R. Thulborn of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Roger Rosenberg of UT Southwestern, Dr. Aage Moller of UTD and Dr. William Woodfin of Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas will help relate the discussions to various clinical applications.

Drs. Sanberg and Thulborn also will speak about their exciting new work in the area of brain science at a breakfast on the first day of the conference, Thursday, April 10.

The breakfast, hosted by the Center for BrainHealth and sponsored by KERA 90.1, will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at a club in North Dallas and will be open to the public. Anyone interested in more information about the conference or in making a reservation for the breakfast may call the center at 214-905-3007. There is a $20 charge to attend the breakfast.

About the Center for BrainHealth
The Center for BrainHealth - part of UTD's School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences - is located on Inwood Road in Dallas, adjacent to such major medical facilities as The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, St. Paul Hospital and Parkland Hospital. The center integrates research, treatment, academic training and community outreach and is one of the few facilities in the United States to provide continued follow-up to enhance and monitor functional recovery in children and adults with brain injury, brain disease and complications of normal aging. Through this innovative approach, the center is discovering commonalities across brain maladies that are yielding similarities in brain repair mechanisms resulting in new treatments for improving life for patients with brain injuries and diseases. One of the center's top priorities is achieving healthy mental aging by translating scientific findings into treatment. The center is currently in the midst of a four-year, $6.2-million fundraising campaign. For more information about the Center for BrainHealth and its work, please visit the organization's web site http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/.

About UTD
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 13,000 students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's Web site at http://www.utdallas.edu/.

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