Transmitters @ TEDx ⚡️

NW Noggin joined our frequent outreach collaborator Youth Engaged in Science (YES!) from the Fair Neuroimaging Lab at OHSU on Saturday at the inspiring TEDx conference in North Portland, to excite visitors with art and information on how our brains develop, and (mostly!) function…

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks of 18 minutes or less. TEDx is a TED-sanctioned program of local, self organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.


Noggin/YES! participants included Binyam Nardos and Jessica Patching Bunch from OHSU, Heather Hamilton from Portland State University and the NIH BUILD EXITO program, and Bill Griesar and Jeff Leake from PSU and NW Noggin. We arrived on a gorgeous sunny morning at the newly renovated Roosevelt High School, and followed our photoreceptors to an “action station” to unpack the brains!

We were honored to be invited to our own Northwest TEDxMtHood, which offered compelling presentations by Dr. Damien Fair from Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU, Adrienne Nelson, a Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge, Charles Magee, the founder of Portland’s Black Parent Initiative, and Chad Fez Gaetz, an artist known for his large scale interactive works…

Damien focused on an important question: What in the world is going on in teenage brains?!

He eloquently described his lab’s efforts to examine ongoing spontaneous brain activity as measured with an imaging technique known as resting state functional connectivity MRI (or rsfc-MRI)…

LEARN MORE: Functional Brain Networks Develop from a “Local to Distributed” Organization

He is fascinated by what these revealed networks might mean in regards to adolescent brain development, and how tracking them as they change might help predict, diagnose and offer opportunities for early intervention for disorders like autism and ADHD.

LEARN MORE: Atypical Default Network Connectivity in Youth with ADHD

We then enjoyed several hours of animated discussion with TEDx attendees eager to examine brains, make pipe cleaner neurons, and ask questions about teenage brain development, perception, sleep, the cognitive consequences of early start times and other public school policies, the benefits of arts integration in STEM, brain changes in older adults, drugs and mental health..!

Many thanks to our volunteers and collaborators at YES!, and to TEDxMtHood for inviting us in!

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