Brain Teasers: Cracking the minds toughest riddles

The human brain is just three pounds of biological tissue. Yet it is the source of every word spoken, every invention realized, every touchdown scored. Questions remain about virtually all its structures and functions—and why sometimes things go awry. Join neuroscientists from the University of Chicago’s new Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology, and Human Behavior for a series of short talks that explore the fascinating and profoundly mysterious human brain.

Giving TED-style talks, speakers will answer the following questions:

  • Can we determine who is at risk for developing a neurodegenerative brain disorder like Alzheimer’s? What can be done to prevent such disorders from developing?
  • Why do we often choke under pressure—and how can we perform our best instead? 
  • Might those who have lost limbs ever touch, feel, or manipulate objects again? 
  • What can rats teach us—both about the human condition and why the brain is so cool?

An audience Q&A will follow.


maunsell-john-final.jpgJohn Maunsell, PhD
Professor of Neurobiology; Director, Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology, and Human Behavior

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sian-beilock-final.jpgSian Beilock, PhD
Professor of Psychology; Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives

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sliman-final.jpgSliman Bensmaia, PhD
Assistant Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy

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Peggy-Mason-final.jpgPeggy Mason, PhD
Professor of Neurobiology

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Mastrianni_James-final.jpgJames Mastrianni, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology; Director, Center for Comprehensive Care and Research on Memory Disorders

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Information for persons with special requests is at


Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories

The OVPRNL provides guidance and support to UChicago researchers and scholars in their pursuit of new knowledge from proposal and program development to grant management and invention disclosure. The OVPRNL is also responsible for stewardship and oversight of the University’s contracts with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage Argonne National Laboratory and co-manage Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory through UChicago Argonne LLC and Fermi Research Alliance, LLC.

Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology and Human Behavior

The Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology, and Human Behavior is the intellectual home for a diverse group of scholars and scientists working together to advance our understanding of the brain.  The Institute’s many experts, including neuroscientists, physicists, psychologists, molecular engineers, and computer scientists—just to name a few,  aim to reveal how the human brain and our social and physical environments interact—and how this influences our health and behavior. This knowledge is essential for improving treatment and developing cures for devastating conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease and advancing other aspects of human endeavor and performance.