[ASC-media] Fwd: FW: World renowned neuroscientist educates Melburnians about the brain

Darren Osborne darren.osborne at mac.com
Tue Oct 3 03:08:15 CEST 2006

Posted on behalf of Merrin Rafferty [mailto:m.rafferty at hfi.unimelb.EDU.AU] 

	Media Release

	2 October 2006

	***Limited number of interviews with Prof Colin Blakemore are available. Details at end of media release*** 

	World renowned neuroscientist educates Melburnians about the brain	 

	World renowned neuroscientist, Professor Colin Blakemore from Oxford University, is making a special visit to Melbourne to deliver a free public lecture, ?Is the brain a machine?? for the Howard Florey Institute on 2 November at the Dallas Brooks Centre.

	Described by The Royal Society as "one of Britain's most influential communicators of science", Professor Blakemore is a frequent broadcaster on radio and television, who has written widely for the general public.

	Professor Blakemore has worked significantly with the media, acting as a spokesperson for science on a wide range of subjects, including controversial issues such as Mad Cow disease, stem cells and human cloning.

	His first involvement in public communications was in 1976, when he gave a series of lectures on BBC radio about the brain and mind. 

	Professor Blakemore said ?the brain is the most complicated known structure in our universe and it is a huge challenge to understand it. Paradoxically, we have to use our brains to try and understand our own brains.? 

	So is the brain a machine?


	?In many ways, computers do what brains do, so is the brain simply a ?wet computer??? Professor Blakemore said.


	?Certainly there is no evidence for any magic in the brain: it is a machine, built on the basis of instructions in our genes.


	?But the brain has important characteristics that make it very different from conventional computers. 


	?In particular, the brain is the most adaptable organ in the body; not just in the early years, but throughout life. The brain is a product of both Nature and Nurture,? he said.


	During his lecture for the Howard Florey Institute, Professor Blakemore will argue that the emergence, during evolution, of genes that enable nerve cells to reorganise their connections in response to their own activity was a transcendent step in evolution, enabling animals to escape from the informational restrictions of their own genetic code. 


	Harnessing the capacity of the brain for reorganisation and repair might not only help us to maintain healthy minds as we grow older, but also give us new ways to treat stroke, degenerative diseases and even psychiatric disorders.


	Professor Blakemore is the Chief Executive of the UK's Medical Research Council and is the Waynflete Professor of Physiology at the University of Oxford.


	Bookings are essential as tickets will be issued. Tickets for this free event are going quickly, so people are urged to register online at www.hfi.unimelb.edu.au or contact Louise Osborne on (03) 9663 0886 or louise.osborne at peselandcarr.com.au <mailto:louise.osborne at peselandcarr.com.au> 


	Event Details:

	DATE:             Thursday, 2 November 2006                       
	TIME:               6:30pm
	PLACE:          Dallas Brooks Centre, East Melbourne


	Professor Blakemore?s lecture is part of the Howard Florey Institute?s Kenneth Myer Lecture Series, which is held to honour the late Kenneth Myer. This will be the Institute?s 10th Kenneth Myer Lecture.


	The Howard Florey Institute is Australia?s leading brain research centre. Its scientists undertake clinical and applied research that can be developed into treatments to combat brain disorders, and new medical practices. Their discoveries will improve the lives of those directly, and indirectly, affected by brain and mind disorders in Australia, and around the world. The Florey?s research areas cover a variety of brain and mind disorders including Parkinson?s disease, stroke, motor neuron disease, addiction, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, autism and dementia.




	Professor Colin Blakemore is available for interviews on:

	Wednesday 18 Oct    5pm ? 6:30pm         via phone from Oxford, UK

	Wednesday 25 Oct    5pm ? 6:30pm         via phone from Oxford, UK

	Wednesday 1 Nov     10am ? 12 midday   at the Howard Florey Institute, Carlton South (photos and interviews)



	For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

	Merrin Rafferty

	Public Relations and Development Manager

	Howard Florey Institute

	Ph: (03) 8344 1658     M: 0400 829 601

	Email: m.rafferty at hfi.unimelb.edu.au <mailto:m.rafferty at hfi.unimelb.edu.au> 

	Web: www.hfi.unimelb.edu.au

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