The Blue Brain Project welcomes schools heads from Slovenia

The EPFL Blue Brain Project was delighted to welcome a delegation of primary and secondary school heads and Neurology students from Slovenia to the Campus Biotech. The event was organized and co-ordinated by Dace Stiebrina and Dr. Srikanth Ramaswamy from the Blue Brain Project in collaboration with Mr. Marijan Musek from the Institute for Ethics and Values in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The aim of the two-day event was to explore how neuroscience can help teachers and educators integrate newly discovered knowledge into the Slovenian school curriculum and adapt to future challenges, not only in the learning process but also in the area of personal development.

We were honoured to welcome Dr. Mary Baker and the incoming President of the European School Heads Association, Barbara Novinec to introduce the event. The event began with Blue Brain Founder and Director Professor Henry Markram presenting ‘Frontiers for Young Minds’ – an open-access scientific journal written by scientists and reviewed by a board of kids and teens. Frontiers for Young Minds believes that the best way to make cutting-edge science discoveries available to younger audiences is to enable young people and scientists to work together to create articles that are both accurate and exciting.

The second day of presentations from experts representing a variety of scientific disciplines began with Dr. Srikanth Ramaswamy, Senior Scientist at the Blue Brain Project, giving an overview of ‘emerging approaches to study the anatomical and physiological organization of the brain through digital reconstruction and simulation’. Prof. Bogdan Draganski discussed ‘neural plasticity – the quest for brain’s fountain of youth’ and Prof. Magistretti concluded the session with ‘how full immersion 3D virtual reality (VR) can unveil the secrets of the brain’. The next session concentrated on the importance of nurturing the brain including looking at the importance of sleep for learning and development, and, research in cognitive neuroscience suggesting that playing a particular type of fast-paced action video games improves a range of cognitive skills. The final session constituted a look at brain diseases specifically, dyslexia by Dr. Silvia Marchesotti and dementia by chair of the first session, Prof. Richard Frackowiak, and concluding with Dr. Jonas Zimmermann from the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering giving an overview of the past, present, and future of brain implants.

Reflecting on the event, Prof. Henry Markram said, “It was a privilege to host the school heads and students for this interesting and important event. The enthusiasm and synergy over the two days from both speakers and attendees ensured a mutually beneficial experience for all involved.”

Blue Brain would like to thank all the speakers who contributed to the success of the event – Prof. Henry Markram, Dr. Srikanth Ramaswamy, Dr. Benoit Bediou, Prof. Bogdan Draganski, Prof. Richard Frackowiak, Prof. Pierre J. Magistretti, Dr. Silvia Marchesotti, Dr. Francesca Siclari, Prof. Patrik Vuilleumier and Dr. Jonas Zimmermann. And also, to thank Marijan Musek, Dr. Mary Baker and Barbara Novinec for their roles in making the event possible.