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home : education : schools July 18, 2018

10/17/2017 1:27:00 PM
Science Club explores neuroscience
Neuroscientist Dr. Larry Sherman will explore how the brain works in the areas of pleasure and love in a Sisters Science Club event. photo provided
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Neuroscientist Dr. Larry Sherman will explore how the brain works in the areas of pleasure and love in a Sisters Science Club event.

photo provided

Dr. Larry Sherman is a neuroscientist with a lot on his mind: love and friendship, pleasure and pain, music and multiple sclerosis, genetics and the degenerative diseases of an aging brain. And he's on a mission to help people understand their personal stake in the big questions in scientific research.

Dr. Sherman will explore some of his favorite topics on Tuesday, Oct. 24 for the second lecture in the 2017-18 Frontiers in Science series at The Belfry, "The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Love."

Dr. Sherman teaches in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at Oregon Health and Science University. He has more than 80 publications related to brain development and neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis. He serves on several U.S. and international scientific review panels; his Sisters visit closely follows two weeks in Australia as the 2017 Visiting International Scholar at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

In his numerous television appearances and lectures, Dr. Sherman engages his audiences with his personal story: a biological family unknown until recently and a passion for music, coupled with a flair for performance and a deep respect for scientific research.

In a recent interview with Science magazine, Dr. Sherman explains that sharing his own family experience allows him to explore complicated topics in neuroscience that people can relate to:

"The story of my biological family lets me do that in a personal way," he said. "If it is personal to me, I figured it would be gripping for audiences."

Music also provides a compelling demonstration of the power of the brain to make connections and even create new neurons. An accomplished pianist, Dr. Sherman once brought an entire band as backup for a lecture on how music can affect the structure and function of the brain in both children and adults.

For Dr. Sherman, it's another way to stress the importance of public support for scientific research.

"I feel like part of my duty, one of my hats - I'm president of the Oregon chapter of Society for Neuroscience - is to go out and get the public engaged in this," Sherman says. "My underlying goal is for people to understand the big questions and how science is addressing these big questions - and making it personal."

Social hour at The Belfry, located at 302 E. Main Ave., begins at 6 p.m., with the lecture following at 7 p.m. Students, teachers and Science Club members free; others, $5 donation at the door. For more information, contact Kathy Campbell, Sisters Science Club Program Planning, 541-912-0750.

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