Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will commemorate Brain Awareness Week, March 11-17, with educational programs featuring robotic technology that enables doctors to check on their patients from home, stem cell research that may revolutionize many medical therapies, and some of the top experts in nanotechnology – including Roger Tsien, PhD, who received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Brainworks, 10 a.m. to 1:10 p.m., March 11, Harvey Morse Auditorium
A robotic assistant will be a special guest at the Brainworks program for 130 seventh- and eighth-graders. Dependable, focused and able to perform tasks at any time, 24 hours a day, “Robot-Doc” has become a key member of the Neuroscience Critical Care Unit.
The InTouch Health RP-7i robot enables several doctors to teleconference, bringing them together by “remote presence” to collaborate in the Critical Care Unit. Students attending Brainworks – part of Cedars-Sinai’s commemoration of Brain Awareness Week March 11 to 17 – will be able to drive and interact with the RP-7i and learn more about these devices from neurointensive care experts and a representative of InTouch Health.
“Brainworks came about because we wanted to expose as many young minds as possible to how exciting science is and especially how fascinating the brain is,” said Keith L. Black, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, who started the program in 1998.
Patrick D. Lyden, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology, will be the keynote speaker. Lyden, director of the Stroke Program and the Carmen and Louis Warschaw Chair in Neurology, is widely known for his leadership in stroke research and treatment.
Brainworks attendees will get hands-on experience as they visit interactive areas such as: a virtual surgery station with 3-D imaging and microscope with phantom skull; a surgical instrumentation station with tools used in the operating room; a neuropathology station with real sheep brains and microscope slides of various tumor types; a rehabilitation and healing station where students learn what it’s like to apply and receive therapy; a suture station that gives students the chance to mend wounds; a brain and spine instrumentation station showing some of the hardware used in treatment; and a research station where students can see and participate in DNA, tumor and laser experiments.
Introduction to the World of Stem Cells, 5 to 7 p.m., March 14, Harvey Morse Auditorium
As many as 130 high school students, parents and teachers will learn from research scientists and clinicians the basics of stem cells, which may revolutionize many medical therapies in coming years. Sessions will include: An introduction to stem cells and issues related to different types; differing scientific opinions, ethical issues and how scientists are working to resolve conflicts; adult stem cells versus embryonic stem cells for therapy; careers related to stem cells; and a stem cell “Jeopardy!” game.
The program will be led by John S. Yu, MD, vice chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and director of surgical neuro-oncology, and Dwain Morris-Irvin, PhD, neural stem cell research scientist and principal investigator with the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai. Ahmed Ibrahim, who has a master’s degree in public health and is in Cedars-Sinai’s Graduate Program in Biomedical Science and Translational Medicine, also will speak. As a high school student, Ibrahim participated in a summer research project at Cedars-Sinai. He now conducts stem cell research at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.
Also, three winners of an essay contest will be awarded cash prizes ranging from $200 to $500, and the chance to volunteer in a stem cell research laboratory during the summer. Papers were due March 1.
Nanomedicine for Imaging and Treatment Conference, March 15 and 16, Harvey Morse Auditorium
Nobel laureate Roger Tsien, PhD, will keynote Cedars-Sinai’s Nanomedicine for Imaging and Treatment Conference, which will assemble a multidisciplinary group of nationally and internationally renowned academic researchers, clinicians and representatives from private industry and the National Institutes of Health.
Tsien, professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego, shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Experts from two dozen organizations will lead sessions on identified and emerging issues in nanomedicine, focusing on recent achievements in drug delivery, nanomedicine and imaging, the role of the NIH in nanodrug development, and the latest preclinical and clinical advances in the treatment of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and other conditions.
Scientists specializing in nanotechnology and nanomedicine generally work with substances smaller than 100 nanometers. One nanometer is one-millionth of a millimeter. Nano researchers manipulate substances and materials at the atomic level.
This will be Cedars-Sinai’s second nanomedicine conference for science and health care professionals, presented by the Department of Neurosurgery and the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.
It will be directed by Julia Y. Ljubimova, MD, PhD, professor of neurosurgery and biomedical sciences, and director of the Nanomedicine Research Center in the Department of Neurosurgery. Ljubimova and colleagues have published preclinical studies on a nanodrug transport system for targeted treatment of biological mechanisms in brain tumor and breast cancer cells.