PHILADELPHIA — Psychologists, neuroscientists, legal scholars and faculty from the University of Pennsylvania are hosting Penn’s first Neuroscience Boot Camp, a nine-day seminar devoted to educating academics, legal and business professionals, economists, medical ethicists, policy makers, philosophers and writers on the impact of emerging neuroscience research and to foster an interdisciplinary effort to encourage responsible and ethical use of neuroscience for human benefit.

The seminar, to be held Aug. 3-12 on the Penn campus, will include an interdisciplinary panel of faculty experts from the schools of Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Law and Engineering and Applied Science.  The Penn Neuroscience Boot Camp is designed to give participants a basic foundation in cognitive and affective neuroscience and to equip them to be informed consumers of neuroscience research.  It also fulfills a scholarly mission to extend neuroscience beyond academia and engage policy makers, advocacy groups, industry and professionals in the full range of fields affected by progress in neuroscience such as business, the military, law and education.

A two-hour presentation for members of the media will take place at 4 p.m., Aug. 6.

“There is a huge need out there for neuroscience education aimed not at young neuroscientists-to-be but at professionals in other fields who want to be informed consumers of neuroscience knowledge,” said Martha Farah, director of Penn’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

Topics of study include an overview of general brain function, principles of brain imaging including fMRI, PET, morphometry, electrophysiological methods and brain stimulation, psychopharmacology, cognition, pathologies and memory, social-affective neuroscience, brain development and genetics and neuroscience.

“The University of Pennsylvania is pleased to support the Neuroscience Boot Camp, a unique and innovative program designed to inform and educate interested participants from across a wide array of disciplines and institutions,” Steven J. Fluharty, Penn’s vice provost for research, said.  “Boot Camp participants will have the good fortune to be taught by some of our University’s world renowned faculty leaders in cognitive and affective neuroscience.  In addition, the Boot Camp’s educational format will be highly conducive to the learning process, with participants having the opportunity to take part in both formal and informal activities and granted access to specialized and copyrighted literature.  We look forward to the launch of a successful and fruitful program.”

In 1953, Penn founded the nation’s first university-wide institute devoted exclusively to neuroscience research, the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences.  Today, Penn supports one of the world’s leading neuroscience research communities, which includes the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Center for Functional Neuroimaging and the Penn Comprehensive Neuroscience Center.

“Penn will capitalize on its strengths in the cognitive and clinical neurosciences to extend beyond the traditional educational mission of universities and reach out to a wide-ranging audience in positions to have a deep impact on how our society understands and makes use of neuroscience,” Anjan Chatterjee, professor of neurology, said.

In addition to Fluharty, Farah and Chatterjee, teaching faculty will be:

  • Geoffrey Aguirre, a neurologist who uses fMRI in his research on vision and face recognition.
  • Joseph W. Kable, a psychologist who focuses on decision-making and the
  • human brain.
  • Michael P. Kaplan, director of Penn’s Neurolab, whose research interests span the molecular and cellular mechanisms of learning and the brain bases of music appreciation.
  • Robert T. Schultz, director of the Center for Autism Research at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, who contributes to the understanding of social development and the brain.
  • Sharon L. Thompson-Schill, a psychologist known for innovative studies of human cognition, especially executive and language functions.
  • David A. Wolk, a neurologist with the Penn Memory Center studying the neural processes of learning and memory, as well as their impairment in neurological disease.
  • Andrew Newberg, a radiologist researching the relationship between brain function and mystical or religious experiences.
  • Amy Wax, a professor of law addressing issues in social-welfare law and policy as well as the relationship of the family, the workplace and labor markets.
  • Stephen Morse, a professor of law and of psychology and law in psychiatry and an expert in criminal and mental-health law.
  • Kenneth R. Foster, professor of bioengineering whose interests concern biomedical applications and possible health risks, as well as the social and ethical implications of technology.
  • Seth J. Gillihan, assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry who investigates neural, behavioral and genetic variables that are associated with psychopathology risk.