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The Neurological Foundation: Brain Day Wellington

The Neurological Foundation and Victoria University of Wellington present Brain Day Wellington, Saturday 23 March 2013

The Neurological Foundation and Victoria University of Wellington are pleased to announce the speaker line-up for Brain Day Wellington to be held at the university’s Pipitea Campus on Saturday 23 March. Brain Day Wellington is one of four Brain Days held across two weekends that form the programme to mark Brain Awareness Week in New Zealand in 2013. All events are free to the public.

Each of the Brain Day events will give the New Zealand public a unique opportunity to hear from some of New Zealand’s top neuroscientists and clinicians about their incredible research work in the laboratory and clinic. In between lectures, people are welcome to mix and mingle with local community support groups who will have information stands at each Brain Day, and can answer questions about the services they provide in the community.

In addition to the key speaker line-up, the Neurological Foundation is pleased to feature Alzheimer’s New Zealand and Multiple Sclerosis Society seminars at the Brain Day events in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Both community support organisations will provide informative sessions, respectively titled “Caring for the Carer” and “Living with MS”.

To fit in with regional anniversary holidays, the 2013 Brain Day schedule will stretch across two weekends. The Neurological Foundation’s dedicated Brain Awareness Week website features more indepth information about each event, including speakers, lecture information, times and venues.

Brain Day Wellington
Saturday 23 March, 10.00am – 3.00pm
Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus, Victoria University of Wellington
Corner of Bunny Street and Lambton Quay

Key speakers at Brain Day Wellington:

10.00am – 11.00am Professor Paul Glue: Fast and slow drug treatments for mood disorders

Professor Paul Glue is a psychiatrist and head of psychological medicine at the Dunedin School of Medicine.

Professor Paul Glue’s research focuses on clinical and basic psychopharmacology, in particular in the areas of mood and anxiety disorders. Special areas of interest include the pharmacology of drug treatments in psychiatry and the investigation of disease mechanisms in neurological and psychiatric disorders. Professor Glue is also interested in technical aspects of clinical trial design, including modelling and simulation. He has published extensively, with more than 300 published papers, book chapters and abstracts. In this lecture, Professor Glue will discuss potential new treatments for anxiety and depression.

12.00pm – 1.00pm Dr Jessie Jacobsen: Hunting genes in neurological disorders

Dr Jessie Jacobsen is a neuroscientist at the Centre for Brain Research, School of Biological Sciences at
The University of Auckland.

The high prevalence of disorders of the Autism Spectrum, combined with the associated demands on social and educational care, represents a major issue in human health in New Zealand. Dr Jessie Jacobsen’s current research project aims to establish a genetic research model to uncover the genetic causes of autism in the New Zealand population and to help develop identification methods to be used in the clinic in the future. The results of this study will contribute to the international effort to genetically define the disease and the findings will ultimately translate to therapeutics and more specific health and educational support systems for patients and family members. In this lecture, Dr Jacobsen will review some of her research conducted during a three-year Neurological Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Boston, and will discuss the scope of her current work using remarkable new technology.

2.00pm – 3.00pm Dr Helen Fitzsimons: Little brains that think big: what model organisms are teaching us about memory

Dr Helen Fitzsimons is Lecturer in Genetics at the Institute of Fundamental Sciences at Massey University, Palmerston North.

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. In this lecture, Dr Helen Fitzsimons will discuss her research, in which she aims to identify genes and genetic processes that are required for the faithful storage of long-term memories. She uses the modest ‘fruit fly’ in her quest. These tiny organisms have made a huge contribution to the knowledge and understanding of cellular processes in humans. Determining the genetic pathways that are integral to the formation and storage of long-term memory will increase our understanding of the process and help identify potential new approaches for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia.


11.15am: Alzheimer’s Wellington: Caring for the Carer
1.15pm: Multiple Sclerosis Society Wellington: Living with MS

Brain Day City Date Venue
Auckland Saturday 16th March The University of Auckland Grafton Campus, 85 Park Road, University of Auckland
Dunedin Saturday 16th March St David Lecture Theatre Complex, University of Otago
Wellington Saturday 23rd March Rutherford House, Victoria University of Wellington
Christchurch Saturday 23rd March Aurora Centre, Burnside High School

Brain Awareness Week is a global campaign to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. Brain Awareness Week also aims to increase community awareness of the potential for improving the long-term health of the brain through lifestyle changes and risk-reduction strategies. The Dana Alliance, based in New York, founded BAW 15 years ago, and continues to administer the campaign alongside the American Society for Neuroscience. The Neurological Foundation is an official partner to the Dana Alliance.

Finding ways to prevent, treat and cure neurological disease is the primary goal of neuroscience research, and the Neurological Foundation is committed to helping achieve this by funding neurological research in New Zealand. For information about the Neurological Foundation’s work and the important research work funded, go to

Brain Day Auckland is generously supported by the Ted and Mollie Carr Endowment Fund proudly administered by Guardian Trust.

For further information including speaker bios please go to


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