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College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi

Brain Awareness Week Focuses on Ethics, Impact of Technology

Movie night, expert speakers, student showcase events scheduled April 2-5

MARCH 28, 2024

Two renowned neuroscientists will discuss the development and impact of neurotechnologies and neuroengineering and students will present their own original research during annual Brain Awareness Week events April 2-5 at the University of Mississippi.

The week’s focus on neurotechnologies was chosen, in part, because of the rapid development of sophisticated brain technologies and how it relates to people as intelligent organisms, said Alberto Del Arco, UM associate professor of health, exercise science and recreation management and co-coordinator of the week’s activities.

“Regardless of their background, everyone is sure to learn what neurotechnologies and engineering are and the ethical challenges that they present,” Del Arco said.

All events are free and open to the public. The week begins Tuesday (April 2) with “Science and Cinema” at 5 p.m. in Shoemaker Hall, Room 219, where the movie “Memento” will be screened.

Anna Wexler

Anna Wexler

Anna Wexler, assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, will address “Neural Frontiers: Ethical Considerations in Brain Technologies” during the Oxford Neuroscience Cafe at 6 p.m. Wednesday (April 3) at Heartbreak Coffee, 265 N. Lamar Blvd.

“In the rapidly advancing field of neurotechnology, cutting-edge innovations such as brain-computer interfaces, neural recording devices and brain stimulation products are revolutionizing the way we understand, interact with and manipulate the human brain,” said Wexler, who also co-directed and co-produced “Unorthodox,” a 2013 feature documentary. “These technologies offer unprecedented opportunities for medical breakthroughs but also introduce critical ethical challenges.

“This talk will dive deep into the world of neurotechnologies, exploring their potential as well as the ethical quandaries they pose regarding neural privacy, cognitive enhancement and post-trial obligations for neural implants.”

Neuroscience students from Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Mississippi State University have been invited to present posters of their research from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday (April 4) in the Bryant Hall gallery.

Students can submit poster title information here. Refreshments will be served and the best posters will win cash prizes.

Aron Barbey

Aron Barbey

“Each year, our neuroscience students present research of exceptional quality,” said Lainy Day, professor of biology, director of the neuroscience minor and event co-coordinator. “Submit neuroscience and related research posters now to make this year’s showcase our best one yet.”

Following the poster presentations, Wexler will speak on “Who Controls Your Brain? Neurotechnologies and Ethical Issues” at 4 p.m. in Barnard Observatory, Room 105.

The week activities conclude Friday (April 5) with Aron Barbey, a professor and director of the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior at the University of Nebraska, speaking at 2 p.m. in Shoemaker Hall, Room 303. His talk is on “Advancing the Science and Engineering of Intelligence: From Network Neuroscience to Interventions for Precision Health.” Barbey’s work examines how the integration of brain areas, nutrition and exercise contribute to improvements in human intellect.

Brain Awareness Week is a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. For more information, contact Alberto Del Arco at