Society for Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the study of the structure and function of the brain. Thus, the Society for Neuroscience (www.sfn.org) is a professional group that supports scientists who are interested in furthering scientific research of the brain, nervous systems, and diseases of the nervous systems. Ralph W. Gerard created the Society for Neuroscience in 1969 so that neuroscientists and physicians throughout the world could share their scientific findings with one another. By integrating basic scientists and physicians from diverse cultures, members of the group are able to improve their knowledge as well as develop professional collaborations that might not have occurred otherwise. Members of the Society for Neuroscience range from undergraduate and graduate students to postdoctoral fellows and faculty from all stages of their career (such as middle school teachers to professors in college).
The Society for Neuroscience holds an annual meeting that occurs generally in the fall of each year in North America. During the annual meeting, members present their data during poster sessions, platform presentations, symposia, and special lectures. The Society for Neuroscience also reaches out to thousands of communities in more than 80 countries through their annual Brain Awareness Week. This week is typically held in the spring of every year; however, members present neuroscience education and outreach to their communities year round.
The Society for Neuroscience publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Neuroscience. The goal of this journal is to include the most up-to-date and scientifically sound research in several neuroscience areas such as behavioral, systems (e.g., limbic, sensory, motor), cognitive (thinking), cellular, molecular, developmental, plasticity (changes induced by activity), and repair neuroscience as well as the neurobiology (the mechanisms) of neurological diseases. Another authoritative source, BrainFacts.org, is offered by the Society for Neuroscience in conjunction with the Kavli Foundation and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. These three nonprofit organizations are leading the way to advance brain research globally. The BrainFacts.org publication and website is for students of all ages and for the layperson who is interested in learning more about the central nervous system. Furthermore, BrainFacts.org is the primary source used during Brain Awareness Week. Its scientifically correct information dispels several myths about the brain and nervous system, such as “you only use 10 percent of your brain.” BrainFacts.org informs, provides, explores, and sparks ideas and understanding of the nervous system and its intricate structure and function. Specifically, it contains topics about (1) neuroscience—discusses new sophisticated tools and techniques for research; (2) brain basics—to learn how the 100 billion nerve cells connect and function together; (3) sensing, thinking, and behaving—to answer questions such as “How do brain connections allow a person to read and speak?”; (4) diseases and disorders—to discover the causes of disorders and new treatments; (5) changes across the lifespan—to learn how our brain changes from birth to old age and in response to the environment; and (6) neuroscience in society—considers how neuroscience applies to making decisions in our world. Although the website provides updated information about evidence-based research on the symptoms, causes, and prognoses of many brain diseases and disorders, it is not intended as specific medical advice. Readers needing medical advice should see their health care provider.
The Society for Neuroscience is continually working with educators to make learning about the brain and nervous system fun for everyone. Thus, through the BrainFacts.org website they host an annual educational video contest for Brain Awareness. In 2014, the top winners included videos titled Vision and Illusion—first place, by Leigha Phillips, affiliated with Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University, with Helen Tang and Lily Benedict; Three Lesions, Three Lives—second place, by Alison Caldwell, graduate student at University of California, San Diego, and Micah Caldwell; Brainbows—Mixing Colors to Map the Brain—third place, by Vania Cao, application scientist; and Neuroscience Minds—Best Song, by Michael Stendardi, student at the City University of New York.
Jennifer L. Hellier
See also: Axel, Richard; Bartoshuk, Linda; Buck, Linda; Hubel, David H.; Neurologist; Wiesel, Torsten N.
Society for Neuroscience. (2013). Mission and strategic plan. Retrieved from http://www.sfn.org/about/mission-and-strategic-plan