12 March 2007

The University of Queensland will this week mark Brain Awareness Week with a free public memorial lecture for a celebrated neuroscientist, and a Brain Bee Challenge for high school students.

The Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) and the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) will co-host the third annual Toshiya Yamada Memorial Lecture, which will be held in the Queensland Bioscience Precinct on Wednesday, March 14, from 2pm.

Dr Toshiya Yamada was a neuroscientist with the IMB until his sudden death in 2001.

“This lecture is held each March and is an opportunity for us to honour Toshi's memory and to celebrate his scientific achievements,” Professor Brandon Wainwright, IMB Director, said.

Dr Yamada's discovery of the molecules essential for regulating the correct wiring of the spinal cord and parts of the brain forms much of the basis of modern neurobiology, and he was instrumental in the resurgence of Australia as a leader in the field of developmental neurobiology.

The 2007 memorial lecture will be given by Professor Ryoichiro Kageyama, Director of the Institute for Virus Research at Kyoto University, Japan.

Professor Kageyama studies the proteins that regulate the important processes of neural development in order to understand the molecular mechanism of neural differentiation and development.

QBI will also host the state finals of the Australian Brain Bee Challenge competition tomorrow (Tuesday, March 13).

The Australian Brain Bee Challenge is a test of knowledge about important facts concerning intelligence, memory, emotions, sensations, movement, stress, ageing, sleep, Alzheimer's disease and stroke.

Winners of the Queensland final will receive microscopes from Zeiss AustralAsia for their school and iPods to take home.

The other states and territories are making similar arrangements, leading up to a national final in Melbourne next July during the International Brain Research Organisation meeting.

First prize winner of the national Australian Brain Bee final will also receive a laptop computer and a cheque for $1000.

Media enquiries:
Ron Hohenhaus (QBI Communications) – 07 3346 7543 or 0434 601 066

Bronwyn Allan (IMB Communications) – 3346 2134 or 0418 575 247

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