Brain Insight Lecture Series and Teacher-Scholar Program

Bringing brain science to the public and the classroom.

At our free public lecture series, eminent Columbia professors share their research as it relates to brain. The Stavros Niarchos Brain Insight Lectures, offered four times a year, examine how brain science intersects with everyday life. Past speakers have presented how early life experiences shape genes and behavior (Frances Champagne, PhD), using music end entertainment to teach children to identify warning signs of stroke (Olajide Williams, MD), and advances in treatments for anxiety and OCD (Helen Blair Simpson, MD, PhD). Information on upcoming lectures and videos of previous events are available on our Events Page.

These lectures are the scientific cornerstone of our Stavros Niarchos Foundation Teacher-Scholar program, a competitive program that introduces middle- and high-school science teachers in NYC to cutting-edge brain science for the duration of a school year. Using the lectures as case studies, the teachers participate in workshops to explore the latest breakthroughs in brain science, while also gaining insight into how laboratory research is performed. Participants create a lesson plan each semester, based on the lectures, so they are able to bring the neuroscience content back to their classrooms. Teachers who complete the program emerge with greater knowledge of neuroscience, a deeper understanding of the scientific process and concrete ways to implement their knowledge in the classroom.

The Teacher-Scholar program is now accepting applications for next year!

Extended deadline! May 22, 2017

Program Details [PDF]

Application Instructions [PDF] – read this before filling out an application.

Application Form

For returning teachers ONLY: use this link to apply.

Application Flyer [PDF] – for posting and distribution.


Recent Praise for the Teacher-Scholar Program

"This program offered me the opportunity to broaden my network of science teachers and to learn from other folks about the resources that they use and the ways they deal with specific challenges. In addition, it offers me the unique opportunity to be a student again – to learn about innovations in science that I can use to inform and enhance my teaching. It also has given me a number of ideas to improve my curriculum and consider options for new courses to teach in the future."
- Orlando Santiago, high school chemistry teacher

"I came upon the Teacher-Scholar Program and it was exactly the type of professional development I needed.  Unlike other professional development programs the Teacher-Scholar programs brings in real scientists and the scientific community.  I have invited my students to all of the Columbia Lectures and they love the opportunity to be a part of a larger scientific community. The support and ideas I have gained from this program directly effects my curriculum planning and has helped push my lessons to be more exciting and more rigorous."
- Brittany Klimowicz, Living Environment and neuroscience elective teacher


Above: a Stavros Niarchos Foundation Teacher-Scholar attends a Brain Insight lecture with her students.


My students receive the benefit of the resources and knowledge applied to their courses. I benefit from a boost in motivation from the inspiration of my peers and world-class researchers.John Heneghan, AP Biology and Living Environment teacher

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