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Contact: Gina Hebert, 508-289-7725; ghebert@mbl.edu

July 16 MBL Friday Evening Lecture to Explore What Songbirds Can Teach Us About Learning And The Brain

WOODS HOLE, MA—Physiologist Dr. Allison Doupe will speak about the processes that allow songbirds to learn complex song patterns and the implications for understanding the human brain and learning at the next MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) Friday Evening Lecture on Friday, July 16. Her lecture, “What Songbirds Can Teach Us About Learning And The Brain,” will be held at 8:00 PM in the MBL's Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, and Woods Hole. The event is free and open to the public.

An amazing capacity of humans is our ability to learn to speak. Songbirds provide one of the few animal models for speech learning: like humans, they must hear the sounds of adults during a sensitive period, and then must hear their own voice while learning to vocalize. Dr. Doupe’s laboratory is interested in how the nervous system mediates these complex behaviors that must be learned. Birdsong provides a useful model system for the study of these issues, which gives us further insight as to how brain circuits function normally and in disease.

Dr. Doupe is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine. She is also co-director of the Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology at UCSF and faculty in the graduate program in Neuroscience. She received a B.Sc. from McGill University and simultaneously received a M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Dr. Doupe has been a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Physiology at UCSF since 1993.

Her dedication to the field of psychiatry and physiology has yielded numerous honors and awards. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the International Society for Neuroethology, and won NARSAD Independent Investigator Award in 2003. Dr. Doupe serves on the editorial board for several journals and is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Psychiatric Association.

The Friday Evening Lecture Series will continue throughout the summer at the MBL. The remaining lectures in the series are below. For more information, visit www.mbl.edu/FEL

July 23, 2010
"Dying Young as Late in Life as Possible: Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration" - Distinguished Alumni Lecture - Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, University of Utah School of Medicine; Howard Hughes Medical Institute

July 30, 2010
"The Nitrogen Dilemma: Feed the World or Protect the Environment?" - James N. Galloway, University of Virginia; Recipient of the 2008 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

August 6, 2010
Arctic Americans and Ice Age Animals Versus the Fossil Fuelers" - Peter Matthiessen, Two-time National Book Award-winning novelist and nonfiction writer

August 13, 2010
Joshua Lederberg Lecture - "Telomere Biology in Aging and Cancer" - Woodring E. Wright, UT Southwestern Medical Center

August 20, 2010
"Establishing a Body Plan: Maternal Control of Axis Formation in Drosophila" - Sager Lecture - Trudi Schupbach, Princeton University; Howard Hughes Medical Institute


The MBL is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Americas.