Integrative Neuroscience PhD candidate Brianna Gonzalez spent 3 weeks in Ghana demystifying the brain for college youngsters and members of the public, and bringing with each other scientists and classic healers.

Gonzalez’s function is portion of a bigger project funded by a Dana Foundation Organizing Grant for the Dana Center for Neuroscience and the Society for Worldwide Brain Overall health and led by Turһan Canli, professor of integrative neuroscience in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Psychology and Gonzalez’s doctoral advisor.

The funding gave Gonzalez the chance to function with researchers at the University of Ghana in Accra, contribute to her field and see a unique portion of the planet. It also became her capstone project for her Sophisticated Graduate Certificate in Science Communication, a system readily available only to Stony Brook graduate students.

“Possessing the chance to combine my interests in neuroscience and science communication, as effectively as pave the way for future students to have equivalent experiences, was so thrilling,” Gonzalez stated. “We have now established connections in Ghana exactly where Stony Brook students can hone their neuroscience teaching and science communication capabilities, and be portion of a two-way culturally sensitive interaction in between the basic population and neuroscientists exactly where each and every group can teach and inform the other.”

Briana Gonzalez stands with a group of traditional healers in GhanaIn Ghana, neuroscience is taught as portion of other applications such as pharmacy, biology and physiology. When locals seek remedy for neurological problems such as epilepsy and schizophrenia, they typically turn to classic healers who use herbs and plants as medicine. Their strategies typically function, even although they have not undergone formal clinical trials and are not authorized by the FDA.

1 of Gonzalez’s projects was to construct on earlier function by bringing with each other some of these classic healers and academic researchers at the University of Ghana. The target of the project is to strengthen trust and probably expand cooperation in between the two groups, whose exchanges have sometimes been fraught with a lack of mutual understanding. Gonzalez helped guide the conversation with the healers to have an understanding of the lack of trust on their portion and what could aid heal the partnership.

“My target was to assess the level of trust in between healers and scientists, as effectively as the communication in between the two,” Gonzalez stated. “It was crucial for me to attempt to have an understanding of these stories behind what occurred in the previous to burn bridges, but also to ask them what can be performed to repair and strengthen this trust for the future.” We hope to be capable to help a lot more of these engagements in between academic scientists and classic healers.”

In addition to gathering professionals, Gonzalez worked to share some of her information and, a lot more importantly, to get other people interested in the brain and neuroscience.

Briana Gonzalez wears a traditional Ghanaian dress with her host family“I definitely enjoyed placing my investigation and science communication instruction to the test – halfway about the planet,” she stated. “In addition to my function there, I had time to discover the nation, attempt the neighborhood dishes and meet an astounding group of individuals who produced my encounter the finest it could be.”

She ran a number of experiential games with college youngsters for the duration of the Ghana Brain Bee — a competitors equivalent to a spelling bee exactly where neighborhood winners advance to additional rounds of the competitors. Gonzalez led a “truth or myth” brain game and experiment to aid students locate their blind spots. Each activities have been intentionally basic and immersive so that students could share their information and experiment with other people.

She also hosted a 30-minute science show on a neighborhood radio station, answering queries reside and discussing the field of neuroscience in terms that a basic radio audience could have an understanding of and engage with.

“For me, science communication brings science to any audience even though delivering the message in a way that is understandable, relatable and accessible to all,” Gonzalez stated. “As a scientist and lifelong learner, I discovered myself listening to hour-lengthy speeches complete of jargon that I could not comply with. I leave feeling discouraged and wishing that a lot more academics would be educated in science communication. Science added benefits everybody and everybody ought to have a correct to the information that scientists have constructed and continue to construct upon.”

By Editor

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