Columbia University in the City of New York

Brain Insight Lectures & Teacher-Scholar Program

The 2017-2018 class of Teacher Scholars (Credit: Sirin Samman).

Bringing brain science to the public and the classroom

At the Brain Insight Lectures, free and open to the public, eminent Columbia scholars examine how brain science intersects with everyday life. Speakers have included Olajide Williams, MD, who spoke about how to prevent stroke in communities of color; Frances Champagne, PhD, who discussed how our early experiences shape our behavior; and Richard Axel, MD, who shared his acclaimed research and insights into how the brain knows what the nose is smelling.

These lectures are the scientific cornerstone of our Teacher-Scholar program, which 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 and create a lesson plan each semester that brings neuroscience back to their classrooms. Teachers who complete the program emerge with greater knowledge of neuroscience, a deeper understanding of the scientific process and a toolbox of concrete ways to implement their knowledge in the classroom.

Applications to the 2018-2019 Teacher-Scholar program are now closed. If you have any questions, please contact

These programs are made possible with generous support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

upcoming events

Feb 7 2019 6:30 pm

Finding the Bar Codes in Our Brains: Using Genetics to Identify the Brain’s 100 Billion Neurons

Featuring Tom Maniatis, PhD, Principal Investigator at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute

Tom Maniatis
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News about our public programs

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Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease Through Its Anatomical Vulnerability

Featuring Scott Small, MD

Finding the Right Medicine One Patient at a Time

Columbia University’s David Goldstein, PhD, a pioneer in genetics and precision medicine, discussed developing targeted treatments that have fundamentally improved the lives of patients living with devastating brain diseases.

Stuck in a Rut: The Neurobiology Behind Anorexia Nervosa’s Stubborn Grip

Writing a New Story Together: Confronting Mental Health Disparities with Community Partnerships

Scents and Sensibility

Representations of the Olfactory World in the Brain

Race Matters, but Not How You Think

How stereotypes affect how we live, work, play, and pray

Heading Off Damage

New insights into Traumatic Brain Injury

We are What we Remember

A talk with Dr. Eric Kandel, MD


Our Sponsor: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation

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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