Lecture to Focus on How Brain Changes Through Experience
Neuroscience Prof Chosen to Deliver Annual Presentation in Memory of Dr. Polykarp Kusch
Dr. Aage Møller
Dr. Aage Møller is in high demand at scientific symposia around the world for his insights on neuroplasticity and how the brain changes through experience. When he presents UT Dallas’ annual Polykarp Kusch Lecture later this week, Møller will explain what this research means to the rest of us and how greater understanding of brain connections could lead to exciting new treatments for disabling neurological conditions.
Møller, Margaret Fonde Jonsson Professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, will present “The Malleable Brain, For Good and for Bad” at 1:30 p.m. on April 27 in the McDermott Library Auditorium (MC2.410). The lecture is free and open to the public.
“It was only a few years ago that it became known that changes in the connections between different cells and different parts of the brain are common,” Møller said. “One cause of changes in connections is diseases such as severe pain and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Connections also change without any known cause, in particular in the beginning and toward the end of life.”
Earlier scientists thought that different tasks, such as understanding speech, were performed in only a few places in the brain. Now researchers know many parts of the brain work together on solving everyday tasks. The brain’s functions can change, and the changes are induced by past experience. This is called neural plasticity, meaning the brain is malleable.
“I am greatly honored by this opportunity to present the Kusch Lecture and to communicate some of what I regard as the most exciting among recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience,” Møller said. “It should remind us that we live in a time of enormous progress in many kinds of scientific knowledge. Much of this new understanding can help improve our lives. I am sure knowledge about the brain and understanding of some of its intricate functions brings joy to many people.”
Møller’s development of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, which enabled monitoring of sensory and motor function during brain and spinal cord surgery, has saved many people from deficits that could have greatly reduced their quality of life. He developed several of the techniques that reduce the risks of hearing loss, loss of function in facial muscles, and loss of function in other cranial nerves.
Møller also has produced 13 books on hearing science and neuroscience and is author or co-author of 199 articles in refereed journals. Among his many awards are: Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, The American Society of Intraoperative Monitoring Award of Excellence, Honorary Diplomat of the American Board of Neurophysiologic Monitoring and the UT Dallas President’s Teaching Excellence Award.
Beyond his accomplishments as a faculty member, Møller also has supported UT Dallas generously as a donor. He and his recently deceased wife, Margareta, previously established scholarships and professorships at the school. His most recent donation endowed the Aage Møller Teaching Award.
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