March 2, 2022

LIVE ONLINE: Thursday, March 17 @ 8PM, Secret Science Club presents the "Dana Foundation Brain Lecture" with Psychiatrist & Biomedical Engineer Alik Widge, FREE!

Secret Science Club presents the “Dana Foundation Brain Lecture” with Psychiatrist, Neural Engineer & Neuroscientist Alik Widge on “Brain Stimulation & Mental Health” (in honor of Brain Awareness Week)

Join us live via Zoom on THURSDAY, March 17 @ 8PM (Eastern Time USA) "Doors" open at 7:30PM 

Shhh... everyone on our mailing list will be emailed the Zoom link the night before.  To join the Secret Science Club mailing list (or request the Zoom link), send us an email (

With over 85 billion neurons and 150 trillion neural connections, our brains are complex systems (and the world is a complex place), so it’s no wonder that many of us experience mental health issues at some point in our lives. Some mental health issues may be relatively subdued and short-lived. Others may be persistent and devastating.

While talk therapy and medications are commonly used as treatments, a growing body of research is showing that new technological interventions can help, too—sometimes in cases where nothing else has worked. At the next Secret Science Club, psychiatrist and bioengineer Alik Widge explores how research and cutting-edge therapies involving brain stimulation could change our futures. He asks:

•    What is happening in the brains/brain networks of people with mental health issues, and how is that studied?
•    What types of mental health disorders might benefit from brain stimulation treatments?
•    What is cognitive flexibility and how does it relate to mental health? How is it measured?
•    What types of brain stimulation treatments might be available in the future, and how would they target the unique symptoms of different disorders and differences in individuals?
•    How can we control our thoughts—instead of our thoughts controlling us? What ethical questions are raised by this research?

Before & After
--Mix up our cocktail of the night, the "Curious Mind"… (recipe below!)
--Groove to synapse-soothing tunes
--Bring your questions for the live Q&A
--Take a peek at the Dana Foundation's fact sheets, scientist interviews, and Cerebrum magazine articles, for information about brain science and how it impacts our everyday lives
-- Learn how you can participate in Brain Awareness Week, the global campaign to foster enthusiasm and support for brain science

Alik Widge is a psychiatrist, biomedical engineer, and neuroscientist at the University of Minnesota. In the clinic, he treats patients for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance addictions, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In his lab, he focuses on the development of closed loop neuro-devices that sense the brain and respond in real time to regulate the brain circuits involved in mental illness. Current technologies being developed include methods for restoring healthy function in brain circuits controlling decision-making, self-regulation, and mental flexibility. The author of over 100 scientific articles, Dr. Widge and his research have been featured on NPR and in Futurism, Science News, Quartz, Gizmodo, and Nature..

This mind-blowing edition of Secret Science Club - featuring Alik Widge - is supported by the Dana Foundation. The Dana Foundation is dedicated to advancing neuroscience within society by supporting cross-disciplinary intersections such as neuroscience and ethics, law, policy, humanities, and arts.

This is a FREE event.

What’s next at Secret Science Club online?
Stay tuned for Bill McKibben in conversation with Oliver Milman, author of The Insect Crisis: The Fall of the Tiny Empires That Run the World on Tuesday, March 29.

(Note: If you don't already have the Zoom meeting app on your computer or mobile device, you can download it for free at

Cocktail Recipe for the “Curious Mind” (created by the Secret Science Club mixology lab)
Ingredients: ¾ oz Rye Whiskey, ¾ oz Spiced Rum, ¾ oz Cognac, ¾ oz Brown Sugar Syrup**, 3 dashes of Bitters (Angostura, orange, chocolate, or a mix), 1 Luxardo Cherry, Orange Peel (for garnish)
- Pour the rye, cognac, and spiced rum into a mixing glass
- Add the bitters, followed by the brown sugar syrup
- Add a generous amount of ice and stir well
- Strain into a lowball glass over ice cubes
- Garnish with a Luxardo cherry and orange peel
**Brown Sugar Syrup Recipe
- Mix 2 parts brown sugar and 1 part water. Heat in a saucepan and simmer, while stirring, until a syrup forms. Let cool.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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