Archive for category education

Neuroscientist teaches about Intersex

Thanks to Carol Clark who wrote this piece for Emory University’s Escience Commons on Sara Freeman’s innovative teaching on Intersex.


As a little girl growing up in Atlanta, Sara Freeman says she was a tomboy, preferring to play in the dirt than with dolls. “I dealt with the psychological issue of not behaving like a feminine ideal,” she recalls, “but I don’t think most people ever feel like a perfect version of their sexual assignment.”

She went on to major in biology at the University of Virginia, where she developed an interest in reproductive endocrinology. Freeman is now on the brink of receiving a PhD in neuroscience from Emory, focused on the evolution of behavior, especially in relation to hormones. Her thesis involves the oxytocin system and the social attachment of mammals, drawing from her work in the lab of behavioral neuroscientist Larry Young.

“I find it fascinating that a chemical like a hormone can have such a big influence on an organism’s social interactions,” says Freeman, who loves teaching as much as research.

Last fall, Freeman taught an undergraduate class that she developed called “Intersex: Biology and Gender.”

Read more here.

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Neuroethics Spring/Summer School in Zurich!

The 2013 Zurich Spring & Summer School in Neuroethics
Progress in understanding the human brain poses various ethical problems: How can neuroscientific research with animals and humans be conducted in a responsible way? What are the practical con-sequences of increasing insights on neurobiological causes for behavioral disorders? Should we use neuroscientific knowledge to enhance our brains and minds? Does neuroscientific research on hu-man moral behavior change our understanding of ethics? These are some of the questions Neuroeth-ics deals with. In the Zurich Spring & Summer School students will get an overview, insights and com-petences in this emerging field.

The Zurich Spring and Summer School in Neuroethics are two coupled events. In the Spring School (April 2nd to 5th 2013), students will get an introduction in the field by a leading international expert, Judy Illes, together with a teaching team of researchers working in neuroethics. In addition, students will participate in a workshop, where neuroscientific researchers from various fields present and discuss ethical issues of their work. In the Summer School (June 3rd to 7th 2013), the students will expand their expertise in various site visits and meet leading researchers of the Neuroscience Center Zurich, the joint competence center of ETH and University of Zurich unifying 800 neuroscientists. The students are encouraged to summarize their findings and insights gathered during the spring and summer school for poster contributions to the 2013 International Neuroethics Society Meeting.

All students with interests in neuroethics are invited to apply for the Zurich Spring and Summer School in Neuroethics, preference will be given to PhD students working in fields related to neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry and/or ethics of the Universities Basel and Zurich. It is expected, but not mandatory, that students participate in both schools. A total of 15 to 20 students are envisaged to form the school, no fees apply. The School is part of the PhD Program in Biomedical Ethics and Law of the Universities Basel and Zurich.

Please send your application (CV and a short letter of motivation) both to Laura Cabrera ( and Markus Christen (

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Uncovering the Neurocognitive Systems for ‘Help This Child’

This post, by Emory Philosophy PhD candidate and graduate editorial intern at AJOB Neuroscience Julia Haas, was originally featured on The Neuroethics Blog.

In their article, “Socioeconomic status and the brain: mechanistic insights from human and animal research,” Daniel A. Hackman, Martha J. Farah, and Michael J. Meaney explore how low socioeconomic status (SES) affects underlying cognitive and affective neural systems. They identify and focus on two sets of factors that determine the relationship between SES and cognitive development: (1) the environmental factors or ‘mechanisms’ that demonstrably mediate SES and brain development; and (2) those neurocognitive systems that are most strongly affected by low SES, including language processing and executive function.  They argue that “these findings provide a unique opportunity for understanding how environmental factors can lead to individual differences in brain development, and for improving the programmes and policies that are designed to alleviate SES-related disparities in mental health and academic achievement” [1].

Neuroscience can tell us how SES may affect her brain.

Can it move us to do something about it?

Theoretically, I have no doubt that neuroscience can make a powerful contribution to early childhood development by determining whether and which neurocognitive systems appear to be more extensively affected by low socioeconomic status.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Networking Tab

One of the resources we’d like to offer you here at NEW Leaders is a network.  We have begun to compile and list and are inviting neuroethics women leaders to have their information listed here under the Network Here Tab.

This tab will include NEW leader from various stages in their neuroethics careers, from seasoned faculty, to postdoctoral fellows, and exceptional undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate and graduate students can be found in the NEWEST Leaders section, NEW Emerging STudent Leaders.

We will be having our first organizational meeting at the International Neuroethics Society Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana!  If you haven’t already registered, please do. This year’s program promises to be exciting.

As an aside, I’ll be doing some international neuroethics networking myself in a few days. I’ll be attending the Japanese Neuroscience Society Meeting in Nagoya Japan and then giving a talk about my empirical neuroethics research at The University of Tokyo. Thanks to Dr. Tamami Fukushi (another NEW Leader) and Dr. Kohji Ishihara for generously organizing this!

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Different Bodies & Different Lives In Academia: Why The Rules Aren’t The Same For Everyone

Tressie McMillan Cottom is an Emory PhD student in Sociology. She uses “mixed methods to examine why students choose for-profit colleges, if for-profit credentials are socially construed as legitimate, and what these interactions means for social mobility and labor outcomes across and within national contexts.” Tressie is a prolific and talented writer and currents holds a Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship at Emory’s Center for Women.

Below is a blurb from her recent blog post originally posted on her blog tressiemc. The overarching sentiment is a well-articulated personal experience of how “some rules are different for different groups of people” whether these rules are explicitly stated or not (which is usually the case).

“Part of professionalization in academia involves learning the unpublished rules of how to act, engage, and be an academic. Almost all of us, at some point of our training, is pulled aside and told the “real” rules of publishing, teaching, and cocktail mixers.

Minorities – be they ethnic, class, or gendered – sometimes don’t get the same level of counseling on such things. A lot of programs have sprung up to bridge the information gap. That’s a good thing.”

Read more here.

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Neurosexism and Single-Sex Education (or support your local ACLU)

 Emory Neuroethics Scholars Program Fellow, Kristina Gupta, recently wrote a piece for The Neuroethics Blog on “Neurosexism and Single-Sex Education”. Kristina is a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies PhD Candidate at Emory and co-taught the course, Feminism, Sexuality, and Neuroethics with Emory Neuroethics Scholar Program Fellow, Cyd Cipolla. She researches the  “intersections of feminist theory, asexuality, and scientific and medical research on sexual desire.” Her piece for The Neuroethics Blog can be read below.

Twenty or thirty years ago, single-sex education for girls was a feminist clause célèbre. However, beginning in the late 1990s and early 2000s, people began to worry that boys were “un derperforming” in school and in life (an idea nicknamed “the boys’ crisis” by the popular press). The media framing of the boys’ crisis has been critiqued on a number of fronts – specifically, critics have pointed out that both girls and boys are performing better in school than in the past and that the difference in educational achievement between white and middle-class students and low-income and minority students is far more pronounced than the difference between female and male students (see a 2008 report from the American Association of University Women).

However, despite these critiques, cultural commentators began to advocate for single-sex education in public schools as a solutionto the boys’ crisis. Commentators like Michael Gurian (author of Boys and Girls Learn Differently!) and Leonard Sax (founder of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education and au thor of Why Gender Matters) argued that boys’ and girls’ brains develop differently, so boys and girls should be separated in school and should receive education targeted to their specific neuro-developmental patterns and mental strengths.

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