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What is Brainstorm? 

The Mind Science BrainStorm Neuroscience Pitch Competition™ provides early-career neuroscientists with research funding AND the opportunity to develop crucial skills for communicating their work effectively to the public, so important as a counterbalance to anti-science sentiment. The Competition provides an opportunity for young scientists and members of the public to connect through pitch process. After sharing their groundbreaking neuroscience projects, the audience of Mind Science supporters get to participate in the awards process by casting their votes to award the first prize of a $30,000 Tom Slick Research Award in Consciousness, or runners up awards of $15,000.

How to Vote

PARTICIPATE ONLINE! Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Competition is virtual.
Voting opens October 11.

1

WATCH VIDEO PITCHES

Click below to view each pitch. 

2

EVALUATE FOR YOURSELF

Decide which proposal is the best based on the merits of the research area AND the pitch’s quality of communication.

3

CAST YOUR VOTE

There’s no cost to vote, but your donations help support future Competitions.

Each of the scientific proposals featured below have been rigorously vetted by our Scientific Advisory Committee and through formal peer review. You can rest assured that the science behind each of the proposals is rock-solid. Voting is free, but you’ll have an opportunity to donate to help support future Competitions. 

An important component of the Competition is increasing the strength of scientists’ communication skills for the general public. As you watch each video, ask yourself “do I understand what this project wants to accomplish?”

2021 Finalists

Vera Ludwig, PhD

Effectiveness and physiological mechanisms of contemplative dyad meditation to increase social connection in young adults in the aftermath of the pandemic

Vera Ludwig, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Loneliness is a recognized risk factor for depression and other illnesses. Ludwig explores how meditation with a partner reduces loneliness, which is especially prevalent given our pandemic-induced physical distancing. Ludwig intends to study how meditating with a partner can increase feelings of well-being and social connection in young adults.

Zulkayda Mamat

Searching for superforgetters: characterizing people with highly superior autobiographical forgetting

Zulkayda Mamat
University of Cambridge

Mamat plans to pioneer the brain mapping of how the brain suppresses negative memories. Forgetting is not the same as a failure to remember. There are different mechanisms driving our ability to forget, as observed in people with “impaired forgetting” suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Understanding how selective forgetting works can help people heal from the intrusive memories of trauma. 

Ben Rein, PhD

Practice Makes Perfect: Does Social Experience in Early Life Guide Proper Brain Maturation?

Ben Rein, PhD
Stanford University

Rein seeks to learn how early experiences shape the social development of our brains. Several parts of the brain are known to be involved in social function, but it isn’t understood exactly how engaging in these social interactions might facilitate neural development. This issue concerns millions and millions of families with young school children staying home to learn virtually during the pandemic, rather than interacting than with their peers in the classroom and on the playground.

thank you to our sponsors


Gold
William Knox Holt Foundation

Silver
Muriel Siebert Foundation
Drs. Alice and Sergio Viroslav

Bronze
Greg and Heda Hahn
Lyn and Pete Selig

Past Winners

Merridee Lefner
BRAINSTORM 2020 Winner

Field of Study: NEUROBIOLOGY OF MOTIVATED BEHAVIOR

Tin Nguyen
BRAINSTORM 2019 WINNER

Field of Study: COGNITIVE RESILIENCY

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