Columbia University in the City of New York

Apr 27, 20226:00 pm

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Brain Insight Lecture

Featuring Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, PhD, Kirsten Lindsmith, moderated by Erica Rodriguez, PhD.

April 27th, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Online

Register Here

Gentle Touch: How the Brain Perceives Touch and What It Can Teach Us About Autism


How do our brains perceive the sensation of touch? Why do we crave some types of touch and find it rewarding? And why do some individuals find the same touch aversive?


In this event, two experts from different but related fields will talk us through how the brain processes touch sensation and how that can help us understand how autistic people experience touch. Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute, will talk about his research around understanding how we perceive our environment through touch, the brain pathways involved and how genetics may play a role. Kirsten Lindsmith, artist, writer and autism advocate, will then speak about how autistic individuals experience touch differently, the role of touch in autism therapy and how we can apply what we learn from autistic people to the lives of people without autism.

This event will be moderated by Erica Rodriguez, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Salzman Lab at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute. Following the presentations, Erica will lead a conversation and Q&A with our speakers.  Audience questions are welcomed, either submitted during registration or live during the event.


This talk is part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Brain Insight Lecture series, offered free to the public to enhance understanding of the biology of the mind and the complexity of human behavior. The lectures are hosted by Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

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