SAN FRANCISCO – World-renowned brain scientist Dr. Michael Merzenich will deliver a keynote address at the “I Can Change My Brain” conference at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, February 26, 2017. Dr. Merzenich is Chief Scientific Officer at Posit Science and Professor Emeritus at University of California San Francisco (UCSF).
Dr. Merzenich will speak on how breakthroughs in brain plasticity in his lab (and in the labs of colleagues across the globe) have now entered the final stage of translational research – resulting in strategies and products that people can engage with today to monitor and improve brain performance and brain health.
Three decades ago, Dr. Merzenich forever changed the way scientists look at the brain with his seminal experiments showing that the adult brain remains plastic – capable of changing chemically, physically and functionally, throughout life, based on sensory and other inputs. Previously, scientists believed that the brain was plastic only in childhood.
Dr. Merzenich realized that plasticity could be harnessed to create tools to benefit humanity. He first applied plasticity in the co-invention of the cochlear implant, which has restored hearing to hundreds of thousand of people living with deafness.
With the wide adoption of personal computers and, then, mobile devices, Dr. Merzenich focused on how to create online (and in app) assessments and exercises that continuously adapt and personalize to monitor and improve individual health and performance.
The exercises in the BrainHQ brain-training platform from Posit Science have been shown to improve performance across a wide range off populations in more than 140 peer-reviewed journal articles.
Studies in healthy mature adults have shown gains in standard and real world measures of cognition (eg, brain speed, attention, memory and executive function); quality of life (mood, confidence, self-rated health, functional independence); and everyday activities (balance, movement, driving).
Last year, Dr. Merzenich was awarded the Kavli Prize, the highest honor in neuroscience. The prior year, he was awarded the Russ Prize, the highest honor in bio-engineering. He has been elected by his peers to both the National Academy of Sciences and to the National Academy of Medicine in the USA. He also is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters.
Dr. Merzenich frequently appears on television and in the press. He may be best known to Australian audiences for his role as Todd Sampson’s cognitive coach in the award-winning television series “Redesign My Brain.”
Dr. Merzenich is the author of several books, including Soft-wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life.