Dalai Lama to kick off visit to Birmingham at UAB scientific symposium

A UAB scientist will participate in a panel alongside other brain plasticity experts and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

dalai webHis Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama will host a dialogue at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Saturday, Oct. 25, alongside leading experts in the brain’s healing power and how the brain changes.

The “Neuroplasticity and Healing” forum, which is by invitation only, will feature the Dalai Lama and prominent scientists known for expertise in brain plasticity, or changes in how the brain works due to modifications in behavior, environment, neural processes, thinking and emotions, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury.

UAB is home to the Taub Training Clinic, which treats patients who have suffered from strokes or traumatic brain injury, using a novel family of therapies developed by Edward Taub, Ph.D. Taub, a behavioral neuroscientist, developed this new family of techniques, termed constraint-induced movement therapy, or CI therapy, which has been shown to be effective in improving the rehabilitation of movement after stroke and other neurological injuries. The therapies center around the practice of teaching the brain to “rewire” itself following a major injury.

Taub will lend his expertise in this area while serving on the panel with the Dalai Lama.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to hold this discussion with His Holiness,” Taub said. “As a scholar and a monk, the Dalai Lama is highly attuned to how the brain works and helps to heal the body, and his comments on the topic will be invaluable to learn.”

Although the symposium is not open to the public, it will be available via a live video feed online.

The “Neuroplasticity and Healing” forum, which is by invitation only, will feature the Dalai Lama and prominent scientists known for expertise in brain plasticity, or changes in how the brain works due to modifications in behavior, environment, neural processes, thinking and emotions, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury.

During the dialogue, the Dalai Lama will comment on and discuss the research and treatments developed by Taub and Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, which are based on the plasticity of the brain in adults.

This event will be moderated by Norman Doidge, M.D., author of the best-selling popular account of neuroplasticity, “The Brain That Changes Itself.” Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D., authority on Buddhism and Tibetan language and culture, will serve as interpreter for the Dalai Lama.

“As a research institution, UAB has a large scientific community that will be able to benefit from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts, M.D. “We are excited to host the Dalai Lama for this event and help welcome him to Birmingham.”

The symposium is being held in conjunction with Birmingham Human Rights Week. The Dalai Lama will cap off the week with a public appearance at Regions Field on Sunday, Oct. 26.

For those interested in seeing the Dalai Lama in person, tickets for the City of Birmingham events are available online.

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