Lecture: The Biology of Sensory Perception: How Children Discover the World

by NYC Firm Schools on February 7, 2012

We recommend this upcoming lecture, which is part of the Parents & Science initiative launched in 2007 by The Rockefeller University:

Science 101 for Parents: The Biology of Sensory Perception: How Children Discover the World

  • Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
  • Time: Registration 5:30/ Program 6:00 p.m.
  • Place: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Hall
    York Avenue at 66th Street
    The Rockefeller University
    New York City
  • Featuring:
    A. James Hudspeth, M.D., Ph.D.
    Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    F.M. Kirby Professor
    Laboratory of Sensory Neuroscience
    The Rockefeller University

Register for the event here or contact Erika Layfield at (212) 327-7434 or elayfield@rockefeller.edu.

“From the first moments of life, a child’s rapidly developing brain is shaped by a profusion of sights, sounds, and other sensations. Sensory perception is the foundation of face recognition, motor coordination, language fluency, and other abilities that children must acquire in order to thrive. For scientists who study the brain, the sensory systems serve as windows to understanding how children learn.

On the evening of Wednesday, February 8, Parents & Science will explore the fundamental biology of perception with renowned sensory neuroscientist Jim Hudspeth as our guide. Focusing on human vision as well as hearing—his primary field of expertise—Dr. Hudspeth will provide an introduction to the principles of neural signaling and development. He will explain, using examples familiar to every parent, how information from the outside world is captured by the sensory organs and relayed to the higher centers of the brain. He will also invite us to consider the brain’s most remarkable feature, its plasticity, which allows continuing adjustments in its operations that permit learning during childhood and throughout life.

Research in Dr. Hudspeth’s laboratory at The Rockefeller University is shedding light on the mechanisms of normal hearing. His investigations are also showing how exposure to loud sounds damages the ear’s sensory receptors at the cellular and molecular levels. This work is particularly timely in light of recent reports that American teenagers are now experiencing much higher rates of hearing impairment than young people in the 1980s and 1990s. Current research in the Hudspeth laboratory is aimed at identifying and controlling stem cells that can regenerate the ear’s sensory receptors.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and an Investigator of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dr. Hudspeth directs the F. M. Kirby Center for Sensory Neuroscience, a consortium of Rockefeller University laboratories dedicated to research on sensory systems and the disorders that affect vision, hearing, balance, or the other senses. He has been recognized as an outstanding teacher by his colleagues at Rockefeller, Caltech, and other institutions where he has conducted research.”

A bit more about the Parents & Science initiative:

“Parents & Science participants:

* Meet leading scientists and learn about emerging discoveries and biomedical breakthroughs that are improving the health and well-being of children
* Increase their scientific literacy, enabling them to talk more knowledgeably about scientific issues and play a more active role in their children’s education
* Engage in an intellectual and social exchange with other parents who share an interest in science and biomedicine

The Parents & Science initiative:

* Fosters a dialogue between scientists, medical practitioners, and parents about child and adolescent health and development
* Builds bridges between the University and New York City area schools and parents, promoting scientific literacy and education at all levels”

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