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Brain Awareness

Contact Information:
Neuroscience Initiative
BPRB Rm. 390F (physical)
BPRB Rm. 320 (mailing)
20 S 2030 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Phone: 801.585.0343

For more information, 


Request a visit using this link

Brain Awareness 2016: Bright Ideas


Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is a worldwide campaign organized by the Society for Neuroscience and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives to elevate public awareness about the benefits of brain research. U of U Program in Neuroscience graduate students have brought BAW to the Wasatch Front every March since 1997. Over time, the University of Utah's Brain Awareness activities have expanded to include year-round events. 2015-2017 Brain Awareness efforts are sponsored by the Eskuche Foundation, Castle Foundation, Medtronic, the Neuroscience Initiative at the University of Utah, and the Dana Alliance. We thank our sponsors for their generous support!

Thanks to the dedication of students from the Interdepartmental Program in Neuroscience, Brain Awareness 2016 was a huge success with local, national, and international impact:

Brain Awareness Week 2016:

Brain Awareness Week took place on March 14-19. Organized by graduate student Patrick Parker and staffed by over 30 volunteers, the team reached over 1,000 local K-12 students and hosted a public event at the Leonardo. Read a press release about Brain Awareness Week 2016 here. Interested in a visit to your school or organization in 2017? Scroll down and use our request form - spots fill quickly!

Brain Awareness Nicaragua:

Spearheaded by graduate student Evan Ratzan, a team of dedicated trainees (Evan Ratzan & Patrick Parker from the Interdepartmental Program in Neuroscience; Judith Simcox and Daniela Chavez from SACNAS) performed two teacher trainings in rural Nicaragua. Reaching over 270 teachers and elders, this impressive undertaking involved translating existing activitiy modules into Spanish, creating new modules for topics of key importance to the communities visited, and of course flying down to Nicaragua to perform the trainings! This exciting new partnership between the Neuroscience Initiative, Society of Chicano & Native American Students at the U, and the Americas Association for the Care of Children, and was partially sponsored by the Office of Health Equity & Inclusion and Patrick Parker's National Science Foundation fellowship.

The First Annual Salt Lake Brain Bee:

Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of graduate student Jennifer Cheng, the University of Utah hosted the first annual Salt Lake Brain Bee on January 30, 2016. After hours of difficult testing on hot topics in neuroscience, three winners were announced:

1st Place:
Peter Zhou of Wasatch Jr. High. Peter won travel and lodging to the National Brain Bee in Baltimore, Maryland in March, where he made Utah proud!
2nd Place:
Asha Pruitt of Wasatch Jr. High
3rd Place:
Baran Cinbis of Wasatch Jr. High
The 2017 Brain Bee will take place in Winter 2017, and is generously sponsored by Medtronic. To learn more or register, visit the Salt Lake Brain Bee website.

Additional Partnership Events:

Several unique partnerships have enabled our volunteer team to further spread messages of brain health, safety, and the importance of neuroscience research. 2016 partnerships of note included an education room at Utah Rare Disease Day, a public event in partnership with KUED, and the first annual Neuroscience Prizes at the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair. Thanks to graduate student Ariadne Penalva for judging, and congratulations to the SLVSEF prize winners:

1st Place:

Nithin Chalapathi of West High: The implementation of deep learning to diagnose patients with Alzheimer's diease

2nd Place:

Jingtong Liu of West High: Promoting Postnatal Growth Ameliorates Retinopathy of Prematurity 

Request a Brain Awareness Week Event for your school or community organization!

Schools and community organizations are invited to request a neuroscience outreach visit by University of Utah Brain Awareness volunteers. Note the following requirements: (1) the school or community organization must be located in the Salt Lake City metro area; (2) a minimum of two hours must be reserved for any visit; (3) a single room large enough to accommodate the planned activities and attendance must be available; and (4) supervision must be provided by the school or community organization (e.g. a teacher must stay in the room at all times).

Unfortunately, due to timing and funding constraints, we are unable to accomodate every request.

Click here to submit your event request online.

Brain Awareness Week 2015: Brain Power!
March 16 - 21, 2015

Vrain Awareness Weekn 2014 logo

Brain Awareness Week 2015 was a huge success, with eleven site visits to local schools. The week culminated in a public event at The Leonardo.

Many thanks to the student organizing committee, particularly chairs Sarah Redmon & Tiffanie Dahl, who went above and beyond to bring messages of brain health, safety and research to over 2,000 individuals across the Wasatch Front.  Thanks also to the team of over 30 volunteers that made Brain Power! possible.

Additional special thanks go out to Ripple; as always, Brain Ball was a huge hit. We also thank the Dana Foundation for material support.

Don't miss next year's BAW! Request a site visit early, or borrow from our Lending Library for year-round brain-related goodness.

Utah Brain Awareness Week is supported by:

Dana Alliance logo


Neuroscience Initiative logo

Last Updated: 9/30/16