Technion professors reveal “How to Mind your Brain”

May 7, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Guest speakers for this year’s Technion Australia (TA) annual Celebration Supper, titled ‘Mind your Brain!’, will be Assistant Professors Itamar Kahn and Asya Rolls of the Technion Rappaport Faculty of Medicine.

The NSW Governor, Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir AC will attend the conference. The Governor is a psychiatrist by precession.

“Assistant Professors Itamar Kahn and Asya Rolls represent the new, dynamic, young generation of Technion researchers and teachers,” said Technion Australia (NSW) Executive Director, Ken Lander.

Itamar Kahn

Itamar Kahn

“We are extremely excited that they were able to join us to share their cutting edge research into the brain, given the current debate in Australia about mental illness and disability.”

TA (NSW) President, Dr Ruth Ratner said that it was particularly pleasing that Governor Bashir would also be attending given that this is her last year in the Vice Regal role.

“The Governor has always recognised the Technion’s contribution to science, technology, engineering and medicine and we are thrilled that she has again agreed to make time in her busy schedule to join us,’ she said.

A/Professor Rolls will be speaking about the placebo effect on the brain and how understanding it may help develop cures for a range of mental illnesses such as depression, autoimmune disorders and Parkinson’s Disease.

A/Professor Kahn will speak on understanding communication breakdown in the brain and how cells which are not dead but misbehaving can be harnessed to slow disease progression. This may provide significant breakthroughs in treating diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Asya Rolls

Asya Rolls

A/Prof Itamar Kahn was recruited from MIT and Harvard University and investigates the dynamic interaction between neural circuits, essential for many brain functions. He seeks to understand how these dynamics give rise to various aspects of brain function and behaviour in health and disease. To do this he uses whole-brain functional imaging (fMRI).

A/Prof Asya Rolls was recruited from Stanford University and deals with a range of issues involving sleep and its impact on brain function and illness. In particular she looks at the effects of sleep on the brain and the immune system.

The professors are in Australia for the ‘Meeting for Minds’ Mental Health Forum in Perth and will be coming straight from it to Sydney. This will be their only public appearance. A/Professors Kahn and Rolls are 2014 Technion Australia Theeman Scholars.

This is the annual TA fundraising event and funds raised will be used to support the Technion-Sydney University-NSW Government Photonics Research project. The Supper is on Sunday, 18 May, 2014 commencing at 7.30pm and bookings are essential (

Photos attached.

More information: Ken Lander, Executive Director, 0419 352 803,


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