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FAU's Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute Presents 'Brainy Days'

Two male scientists standing on either side of a monk who is being prepared to enter an MRI machine.

Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., pictured standing on the right, will be the keynote speaker during FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute's month-long "Brainy Days" events.Photo credit: Jeff Miller, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Florida Atlantic University’s Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute will celebrate its efforts to advance brain science and health with “Brainy Days” events throughout the month of March throughout Palm Beach County.

“Brainy Days” includes free community events and educational lectures with world-renowned experts to promote brain health, share neuroscience discoveries, and reduce the stigma associated with brain disorders.

“Through Brainy Days, we are able to share the remarkable progress happening in brain research at Florida Atlantic and across the globe with our community,” said Randy D. Blakely, Ph.D., David J. S. Nicholson Distinguished Professor in Neuroscience, executive director of the Brain Institute, and professor of biomedical science at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “These breakthroughs have a direct impact on people’s lives. We want to give them the most up-to-date knowledge from the scientific community so they can make educated decisions about their brain health.”

Signature events during “Brainy Days” include the return of “BrainSparks!,” an event for children produced in partnership with the Cox Science Center and Aquarium; a first-ever neuroarts installation at the Brain Institute called “Insights at the Institute;” and a keynote presentation by Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., a research professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison whose groundbreaking research on emotion and the brain earned him a spot on Time magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2006.

“Through Brainy Days, our neuroscience faculty, students and invited speakers seek to inspire and communicate the promise and progress of brain research,” said Nicole Baganz, Ph.D., director of community engagement and programming at the Brain Institute, research assistant professor at the College of Medicine, and coordinator of “Brainy Days.” “We hope to spark a new level of awareness and interest in brain health, because this is a topic that affects us all.”

The schedule of events for “Brainy Days” is as follows:

  • Thursday, March 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. – John Cryan, Ph.D., will present “Gut Feelings – The Gut Microbiome as a Key Regulator of Brain Health Across the Lifespan.” Cryan is a professor and chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at University College Cork in Ireland. A one-hour talk will be followed by a book signing and reception at the Brain Institute at FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus, 5353 Parkside Drive, in Jupiter.
  • Tuesday, March 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. – Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., will present “Well-being is a Skill.” Davidson is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also founder and “chief visionary” for Healthy Minds Innovation, Inc. A one-hour talk will be followed by a reception and book signing in the Gelb Auditorium at FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, 777 Glades Road, in Boca Raton. To register, visit
  • March 16, 18 and 19 – A unique art exhibition, “Insights at the Institute,” will be open to the public. Insights is an annual juried art competition hosted by the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation featuring original artwork created by individuals living with bipolar disorder. The exhibition will be open to the public on March 16 from 1 to 5 p.m., as well as on March 18 and 19 from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Brain Institute at FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus, 5353 Parkside Drive, in Jupiter.
  • Saturday, March 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Join scientists from the Brain Institute’s Advancing STEM-Community Engagement through Neuroscience Discovery (ASCEND) program, the Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute, and Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience for “BrainSparks!” an interactive event featuring dozens of hands-on activities designed to introduce young minds to neuroscience. The event will be held at the Cox Science Center and Aquarium, 4801 Dreher Trail North, in West Palm Beach. Participation is included with regular museum admission.
  • Thursday, March 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. – Anjan Chatterjee, Ph.D., will present “Art, Architecture, and Human Well-being.” Chatterjee is a professor of neurology, psychology and architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m and the one-hour presentation begins at 7 p.m., followed by a book signing and reception at the Cox Science Center and Aquarium, 4801 Dreher Trail North, in West Palm Beach. To register, email
  • Friday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – “Neural Nexus: Fusing Science, Art, and Creativity” will feature renowned mixed media neuroscience artist Gregg Dunn, Ph.D. and Suzanne Nalbantian, Ph.D., an interdisciplinary scholar and author in humanities and neuroscience. The event will include talks by Dunn and Nalbantian and a virtual art exhibition of Dunn’s work at the Brain Institute at FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus, 5353 Parkside Drive, in Jupiter.

Brainy Days is sponsored by Palm Health Foundation. Additional support for individual events was provided by the Cox Science Center and Aquarium; the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation; FAU’s Jupiter Life Science Initiative; FAU’s College of Social Work and Criminal Justice; the Robin Rubin Center for Happiness and Life Enhancement at the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work; the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of FAU; and the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at FAU Medicine.

For more information about “Brainy Days,” email or visit