Step into the amazing, changing brain with BRAIN: The Inside Story at the Ontario Science Centre

New interactive exhibition showcases the latest research about the human brain

TORONTO, Nov. 18, 2014 /CNW/ - The human brain – the result of millions of years of evolutionary history – uses molecular, chemical and electrical signals to interpret information, weigh decisions and learn at every stage of life. Drawing on current research and technology, BRAIN: The Inside Story offers visitors of all ages a new perspective and keen insight into their own brains through imaginative art, vivid brain-scan imaging and dynamic interactive exhibits. The exhibition, on tour from the American Museum of Natural History, features the latest news in neuroscience, highlighting the brain's surprising ability to rewire itself in response to experience, disability or trauma and showcases new technologies that researchers use to study the brain and treat conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. BRAIN: The Inside Story runs from November 19, 2014 through March 29, 2015 at the Ontario Science Centre.

"The human brain is the most complex and fascinating biological structure known, and we are delighted to explore its many facets in BRAIN: The Inside Story," said Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO, Ontario Science Centre. "This exhibition illustrates how our brains work, and provides insights into what is currently one of the hottest and most promising fields in science today – neuroscience. Visitors will learn how technology is revolutionizing brain science and will come away with an enriched understanding of the brain, the vehicle for all of the things that make us human."

BRAIN: The Inside Story utilizes two creative and innovative ways to present scientific information: artistic interpretations and interactive exhibits. To begin, visitors walk past a real preserved human brain – a modest, small white mass – then step into the exhibition through an exhilarating "tunnel" of firing neurons, an installation created for this exhibition by the Spanish artist Daniel Canogar.

The exhibition unfolds with engaging illustrations, vivid brain scan images, brain-teaser games and interactive exhibits that will entertain and enlighten visitors of all ages. A stunning array of visuals demonstrate the  brain's countless functions: a dynamic 180-centimetre (six-foot) homunculus, a human figure with abnormal proportions that highlights how much of the brain is devoted to the sense of touch in different parts of the body; a multimedia video piece with a clear resin brain that lights up the functional areas used by a student dancer as visitors view a video that follows her while she auditions for Julliard; an engaging neuron gesture table that shows how brain cells connect and communicate with each other; a glowing 245-centimetre (eight-foot) model of the subcortical brain that, by connections to exhibits, illustrates how the brain processes language, memory and decision-making; and a deep-brain stimulation implant, the first of its kind on display in a museum. The exhibition also features a "brain lounge," where visitors can watch scans of the brain of a professional basketball player as he reacts to the whoosh of the net and the roar of the crowd. Visitors can also see how a musician's brain lights up to classical and rock music.

"I see BRAIN: The Inside Story as a coming-out party for the 21st-century brain," said lead exhibition curator Dr. Rob DeSalle, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History's Division of Invertebrate Zoology who also conducts research at the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics. "I think visitors will be fascinated with the complexity of their brains. Brains change with every bit of information that is taken in, and the stimulating information and stunning exhibits within this exhibition will engage the brains of every visitor."

Finally, Ontario Science Centre's researchers and programmers, in collaboration with the experts at the Ontario Brain Institute, have developed a wide range of exciting programming for BRAIN: The Inside Story. Highlights include:

  • A four-part Café Scientifique series themed "This is your brain on…" food, exercise, music, etc. where experts from diverse disciplines discuss topics relating to the brain in unique complementary venues.
  • Special live-animal presentations titled Wild, Wild World where animal behaviour experts discuss research about animal communication with live animals present.
  • Research Live! where visitors are invited to contribute to real-life scientific studies that explore topics ranging from genetics to cognitive development.
  • Plus, a celebration of grey matter at BRAINfest!, where visitors will have fun improving their memory, confusing their senses and testing their abilities with interactive activities and family-friendly brain games.

"Ontario is rich in neuroscience talent – from its researchers and clinicians to its patient advocacy resources and technology innovators," said Dr. Donald Stuss, President and Scientific Director, Ontario Brain Institute. "The Ontario Brain Institute is passionate about sharing the work of these talented groups in ways that spread knowledge and inspire curiosity, which is why we consider ourselves fortunate to be partnering with the experts at the Ontario Science Centre to make this possible on a whole new level."

BRAIN: The Inside Story opens at the Ontario Science Centre on November 19, 2014 and runs until March 29, 2015; it is free with general admission.

BRAIN: The Inside Story is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), in collaboration with Codice, Idee per la cultura, Torino, Italy in association with Comune di Milano – Assessorato Cultura, Italy; Guangdong Science Center, Guangzhou, China; and Parque de las Ciencias, Granada, Spain. 

Presentation of BRAIN: The Inside Story at the Ontario Science Centre is sponsored by Knowledge Partner the Ontario Brain Institute and Local Supporting Sponsor Medtronic of Canada Ltd.

About the Ontario Science Centre

The Ontario Science Centre delights, informs and challenges the communities we serve, enriching people's lives and understanding through engagement with science of local, national and global relevance. Since 1969, the Ontario Science Centre has welcomed more than 49 million visitors, with an interactive approach that was the model for science centres around the world. It is a venue for public dialogue about science and society, aiming to inspire a lifelong journey of curiosity, discovery and action to create a better future for the planet. Please visit us at OntarioScienceCentre.ca.

About the Ontario Brain Institute

The Ontario Brain Institute is a provincially‐funded, not‐for‐profit research centre seeking to maximize the impact of neuroscience and establish Ontario as a world leader in brain research, commercialization and care. We create convergent partnerships between researchers, clinicians, industry, patients, and their advocates to foster discovery and deliver innovative products and services that improve the lives of those living with brain disorders.

About Medtronic of Canada

Medtronic of Canada Ltd. (www.medtronic.ca) is a trusted Canadian leader delivering innovative health system solutions and advanced medical technologies to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life in the areas of cardiovascular medicine, diabetes, spinal and neurosurgery, and ear, nose, throat surgery. Medtronic is proud to employ more than 700 Canadians. Headquartered in Brampton, Ontario, Medtronic has regional offices in Vancouver and Montreal, including a manufacturing facility, Medtronic CryoCath, located in Pointe-Claire, Quebec.

For images and video, please visit: www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/Media/ImagesVideo

Social Media Links

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/OntarioScienceCentre
Twitter: @OntScienceCtr | #AmazingBrain
YouTube: www.YouTube.com/user/OntarioScienceCentre

SOURCE: Ontario Science Centre

For further information: Anna Relyea, Director, Strategic Communications, 416-696-3273, c: 416-668-1967, Anna.Relyea@osc.on.ca; Jefferson Darrell, Media Relations Officer, 416-696-3154, Jefferson.Darrell@osc.on.ca; Andrea Mus, Media Relations Officer, 416-696-3191, c: 416-895-5482, Andrea.Mus@osc.on.ca

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https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca

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