The University of Iowa

May 9 WorldCanvass decodes language of the brain

April 18th, 2014

The astonishing scientific and medical advances of recent decades have led to previously unimaginable revelations about the human body’s innermost secrets. On the May 9 WorldCanvass, a diverse panel of experts will discuss the language of the brain and what we’re learning about mind and body interactions. The public is invited to attend the live recording of WorldCanvass from 5-7 p.m. in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum.

In an impressive and massive research undertaking, the Human Genome Project yielded knowledge that exponentially expands our understanding of not only how we’ve developed as a species but how we might target therapies to an individual patient’s genetic profile. Now, in what President Obama is calling “a grand challenge,” the BRAIN Initiative (which stands for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) is pulling resources and the scientific community together in hopes of dramatically advancing our understanding of the human mind and deciphering the causes of brain disorders and illnesses—with an end goal of finding ways to prevent or cure them.

WorldCanvass guests from multiple disciplines at the University of Iowa will help us understand how the brain works when it functions optimally, what happens when something goes wrong, and how the mind and brain change during the aging process. We’ll also explore the field of artificial intelligence and the once science-fiction-like notion that machines could be created to think like human beings.

Read the Press-Citizen commentary about this program, written by Bernd Fritzsch.

Topics and participants for “The Language of the Brain” are:

Brain development—Joshua Weiner, UI Department of Biology; Mark Blumberg, UI Department of Psychology

Neurological disorders: research and advances—Matthew Howard, UI Department of Neurosurgery; Enrique Leira, UI Department of Neurology; Tami Lansing, patient

The aging mind and brain—Bernd Fritzsch, UI Department of Biology, director of the UI Aging Mind and Brain Initiative; Robert Philibert, UI Department of Psychiatry

Creating artificial intelligence—Karim Abdel-Malek, director of the Center for Computer-Aided Design

WorldCanvass is a production of UI International Programs. Program partners are UITV and the Pentacrest Museums.

All WorldCanvass programs can be found on the UI YouTube channel, the Public Radio Exchange, iTunes, and the International Programs website. For more information on WorldCanvass, contact Joan Kjaer at or visit