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Renowned Brain Scientist to Lecture Nov. 12 at Iowa State University

November 7, 2012

Tracy Ann Raef, College of Veterinary Medicine, 515-294-4602

Fred Love, News Service, 515-294-0704 

AMES, Iowa – Michael Merzenich, a leading pioneer in the study of brain plasticity, will deliver a special lecture on Monday, Nov. 12, on “Rewiring the Brain.” The lecture will be held in the Great Hall, Memorial Union at 8 p.m.

Merzenich is an Emeritus Professor at the University of California at San Francisco where he retired as Francis A. Sooy Professor and Co-Director of the Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience in 2007. In the late 1980s, Dr. Merzenich was on the team that invented the cochlear implant. In 1996, he was the founding CEO of Scientific Learning Corporation, which markets and distributes software that applies principles of brain plasticity to assist children with language learning and reading. In 2004, he became co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Posit Science, a company which helps people throughout their lives by providing brain training software clinically proven to improve cognitive performance. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1999 and to the Institute of Medicine.

Merzenich has published more than 150 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals (such as Science and Nature), received numerous awards and prizes (including the Ipsen Prize, Zülch Prize, Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award and Purkinje Medal), and been granted nearly 100 patents for his work. He and his work have been highlighted in hundreds of books about the brain, learning, rehabilitation, and plasticity. Dr. Merzenich's work is also often covered in the popular press, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Forbes, Discover, and Newsweek. He has appeared extensively on television, and his work has been featured on four PBS specials: "The Brain Fitness Program", "Brain Fitness 2: Sight and Sound", "The New Science of Learning", and "Brain Fitness Frontiers". Dr. Merzenich earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Portland and his doctorate in neurophysiology at Johns Hopkins. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin in Madison before becoming a professor at the University of California, San Francisco. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1999 and the Institute of Medicine in 2008.

The lecture is sponsored by Biomedical Sciences, the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, the Iowa Center for Advanced Neurotoxicology, Kinesiology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Miller Lecture Funds, Society for Neuroscience, and the University Committee on Lectures, which is funded by GSB.