Please visit our Flickr page for images of our events.
If you have an idea for an outreach event, or if you would like to volunteer with us, please contact us (link to our email address is one of the buttons at the bottom of the page).
The following descriptions include just some of the activities that we participate in as a chapter:
Collaborations with the Kentucky Science Center:
Nanodays: Collaboration with the Kentucky Science Center to highlight neuroscience during their NanoDays event, which is a multiday “celebration of the science of the small”. During the event, our members provide visitors with a variety of interactive opportunities to experience neuroscience. In our comparative neuroanatomy module, real brains from mice, rats, sheep, human brains are shown, and members of our group highlight the similarities and differences in structure and function. Our histology-based modules show different structures associated with the peripheral and central nervous system including the levels of the spinal cord, areas of the brain, dorsal root ganglia and tissues of the body that are innervated by the nervous system. Microscopy slides, combined with anatomical models, PowerPoint visual aids, diagrams, and the knowledge and enthusiasm of our Louisville Chapter volunteers enhance the experience for everyone who visit these modules. For the younger visitors, we provide crayons, and coloring sheets showing the brain and neurons.
Youth Science Summit: We also participate in the Kentucky Science Center’s Youth Science Summit, which involves day-long Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) intensive events for approximately 150 enthusiastic Middle and High school students. In addition to general tracks for Middle and High school students, a track specifically for Middle School Girls is available with a focus on empowering girls to enter STEM-related careers. Our group participates in the career advice mentoring session, and presents an interactive talk and demonstration. For the talk/demo, we discuss the basic layout of the central and peripheral nervous system, and the function and propagation of action potentials. We also demonstrate sensory and motor signaling pathways, and the flexor/crossed extensor reflex, using an interactive neuroscience game designed by UofL's Dr. Cindy Corbitt (see http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=51715 for details). We also discuss spinal cord injury and paralysis, and highlight some of the exciting basic, clinical and translational science being done at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center. For speed mentoring sessions, students have the opportunity to sit down with professionals from an array of science disciplines to discuss their careers, and ask questions about colleges programs of study, and get helpful hints about taking the next step toward their careers.
Health Works: Chapter members volunteer at the Kentucky Science Center during their Healthworks event, which explores the growing field of health medicine, biology, and healthy lifestyle choices. At this event we have several stations set up to educate visitors on comparative neuroanatomy and neurohistology, and discuss how the nervous system develops and ways to keep the brain healthy. The UofL Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology Department’s Willed Body Program also kindly allows us to borrow a human brain to show to visitors.
Adult public seminar series: We participate in several public science seminar series held at local eateries.
Scientific Proofs: Mellow Mushroom, 3922 Shelbyville Road
Beer with a Scientist: Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse, 401 E Main St
STEMinar: Mellow Mushroom, 3922 Shelbyville Road
Judging science fairs: As a chapter, we participate in two annual local science fairs, The Louisville Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and the DuPont Manual High School Science Fair. Between these two events, there are typically more than 500 student projects!
Volunteering at fundraisers for neuroscience-related organizations:
National Multiple Sclerosis Society: We assist with coordinating our local Walk MS and Bike MS events, benefiting the Kentucky/Southeast Indiana chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Chapter members help with registration, coordination, and providing food and water to the participants. Chapter members also assisted with setting up the event and cleaning up after the event was finished. We also raise money, and provide on-site neuroscience demonstrations. These demonstrations include the following stations:
Build-a-neuron: Kids build neurons out of pipe cleaners, beads, and Styrofoam balls.
Build-A-Brain: Kids put together brain hats and add stickers to label functions.
Hack-Your Brain Cornhole: Visitors play the game of cornhole while wearing prism goggles, which shift their vision by 30 degrees.
Human-to-Human Interface: Device by Backyard Brains that enables one person to control the hand of another person using electrodes and a TENS device.
Histology: Visitors view rat spinal cord and muscle specimens using microscopes.
Try on MS: Include activities for families to experience MS-like symptoms.
Meet the Doc: A MS specialist from UofL is on hand to answer questions.
Hosting laboratory tours: We organize tours for small groups of high school students interested in the health professions. They typically visit laboratories of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC), and listen to faculty- and trainee-led discussions regarding their research programs, scientific philosophies, the care and ethics related to the use of research animals, the role of individual laboratories in science and translational medicine, and their personal academic journeys from high school to their current positions. Members also conduct tours of individual research laboratories as well as core facilities, including the Microscopy and Surgical Cores located in the KSCIRC and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Core located in the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute. The visiting students are also given a presentation on comparative neuroanatomy and engage in a hands-on experience in which they can compare, handle and dissect mouse, rat and sheep brains.
Brain Awareness Week: Each year we contribute to the Dana Foundation’s annual Brain Awareness Week. Recently this has developed into Brain Days: An Interactive Neuroscience Experience. Attendees of this event visit more than 20 interactive stations scattered throughout the three floors of the Kentucky Science Center, providing them the opportunity to:
- See brains and nervous systems from various animals (including a real human brain).
- See how big a dinosaur neuron was versus animals that live today.
- Learn about electrophysiology and action potentials.
- Learn about brain surgery and deep brain stimulation.
- Learn the cutting edge tools that we use to study neuroscience.
- Learn about spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury, and the pioneering research being done here at the University of Louisville to treat these conditions.
- Play an interactive game with an Xbox Kinect, test their reflexes, build a spinal cord, and race the clock to assemble a spinal cord puzzle.
- Learn about brains of our ancestors.
- Discover how to hack their brain by altering their visual perception, and see lots of neat illusions.
- Learn how to keep their brain safe by using a helmet.
- Learn the proper rules of the road on our Bicycle Rodeo.
- See masks painted by individuals who have traumatic brain injuries.
- For the younger crowd, we have brain and neuron worksheets to color, a fashion-your-brain station, and build-a-neuron station.
This large-scale event is a collaborative effort brings together 24 different participants and contributors: The Kentucky Science Center, the Louisville Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, the UofL Science Policy and Outreach Group, the Kentucky Academy of Sciences, the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, Frazier Rehab, UofL Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric NeuroRecovery, the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, Bike Louisville, the Dana Foundation, Norton Children’s Hospital Bike Safety Rodeo, the UofL School of Medicine’s Willed Body Program, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, DuPont Manual High School National Honor Society, Medtronic, Bellarmine University Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program, and UofL Departments of Anatomical Sciences & Neurobiology, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Anesthesiology, A&S Psychological and Brain Sciences, A&S Biology, Bioengineering, and Anthropology. Over 1400 people are exposed to neuroscience during this two day event!