Lecture on how the brain makes choices Friday

Life is full of decisions. Whether we are deciding what to have for lunch or where to take the family on vacation, our brains make thousands of choices every day.

In a lecture on Friday, Jan. 14, James Surmier will give an overview of how the brain makes decisions, highlighting a small group of brain cells that release the chemical dopamine.

The lecture titled “How the Brain Controls our Choices, and What Can Go Wrong” will cover how the loss of certain neurons results in Parkinson’s disease and new strategies for slowing or stopping the decline of brain cells with aging.

The lecture takes place in the Ramsey Auditorium at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $7.

Surmeier is the Director of the Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Center of Excellence and Chair of the department of Physiology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

His research program focuses on mechanisms underlying neural activity in the basal ganglia (a group of brain cells normally associated with motor control and cognitive functions) and how these mechanisms are affected by diseases like Parkinson’s.

Surmeier received his Ph.D in Physiology and Biophysics, training with leaders in the field of neurophysiology and has published in journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Neuroscience, and the Journal of Neuroscience.

Visit the Fermilab Lecture Series website for more information. Ticket information is available online.

— Cynthia Horwitz