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Welcome To Your Brain Gym! Think Like A Neuroscientist

Welcome To Your Brain Gym! Think Like A Neuroscientist

Monday, April 5 - Friday, April 16, 2021 EDT

Online Course

Presented By

The New York Academy of Sciences


Welcome To Your Brain Gym! Think Like A Neuroscientist
Welcome To Your Brain Gym! Think Like A Neuroscientist

This course is focused on the concept of neurogenesis or new neuron generation (our brain gym), and its importance to combat mental health disorders. We will explore lab methods commonly used by neuroscientists to study brain processes.

We will review “big neuroscience” ideas: from the concept of the neuron, as the functional nervous system unit, to the current understanding of how those neurons are crucial in mental health disorders.

We will address questions like what brain gym is, where to find it, how to analyze it, and why it is important. In this regard, we will have activities to learn some of the main brain structures. Then, you will learn the bases of research tools such as immunofluorescence and microscopy as a way to identify those neurons. We will then analyze brain functionality through behavioral test studies and validate results using biostatistics in a friendly user way. Finally, we will explore ways to improve our brain gym, like meditation, art, and music. More than that, this course will motivate you towards the scientific process world and demystify the scientific method. If you are looking for an easy-going learning environment, with fun activities and intensive brain activity… This course is for you!

$495/student for this two-week camp

Week 1: April 5-9

Week 2: April 12-16

Online via Zoom. Two hours of in-person teaching time with intermittent group breakout sections Monday through Friday. Students will be assigned work outside of class to be completed independently and in small groups.

Daily Monday through Friday, 4:00-6:00PM EST

Dr. Sylvia Ortega-Martinez is a passionate Spanish neuroscientist. She has developed her scientific career working in top academic institutions around the world, such as the Instituto Cajal (Spain), Washington University (US), Oxford University (UK), Turku Centre of Biotechnology (Finland) and the University of Chicago (US), among others. Her work was focused on the role of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, as a key mechanism in neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Currently, she provides scientific and technical support to customers, and works closely with the engineering team in the process of development and improvement of new products in the Neuroscience field.

Dr. Ortega-Martinez also works actively in science divulgation, as one of her main passions. She has contributed to Clubes de Ciencia, WATS project, Soapbox Science, and Woman’s Brain Project, among others. Currently she leads a WhatsApp group of 50 Mexican students, providing mentorship and organizing zoom talks to discuss different aspects in science. Dr. Ortega-Martinez also believes in the importance of maintaining a growing interdisciplinary networking community in science. In this regard, she is active via Twitter and LinkedIn. Currently she is exploring her photography art interest (it comes from her time in microscopy) and just released her own website.

Dr. Ortega-Martinez’s accomplishments include an International PhD in Neuroscience, 19 published academic manuscripts in the Neuroscience field, collaboration with top Institutions around the world, as well as proven leadership in mentorship and scientific communications activities.

Twitter: Milyunaislaspa1
Google scholarship website:
Researchgate website:
Own website:


The students will:

  1. Define neurogenesis: what it is, why is important and where is located.
  2. Identify methods used to do brain research in the lab
  3. Describe/identify at least one activity that promotes neurogenesis


  1. Find neurogenesis in a brain diagram.
  2. Describe some reasons why immunohistochemistry, microscopy, behavioral tests help scientists to understand neurogenesis
  3. Discriminate how music, meditation, art promote neurogenesis.

The topic of the course is the process called ´Neurogenesis´ or the new neuron generation in the adult brain.

Neurogenesis was discovered in the 1960s by Joseph Altman and has acquired an extreme relevance in the Neuroscience field, as it is involved in both, cognitional and emotional brain responses.

Neurogenesis is a key target for a future treatment in mental health disorders (neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders). Therefore, its understanding will provide students a bright future in STEM research, within Neuroscience, as it can be applied in multiple fields of research.

This course aims to provide the laboratory methodology used to study neurogenesis. In this regard, students will learn about immunofluorescence, behavioral test, and biostatistics: Overall, it will cover the full scientific method to approach a new research that could be applied afterwards in any STEM research field.

This process is closely related with a variety of common symptoms that students are exposed to in their academic life, such as stress or anxiety. This is an excellent opportunity for them to explore new ways, providing new tools, that potentially can help them in the healthy management of their academic and personal life.

Finally, this course will help students with their own motivation and self-esteem to pursue their dreams and will provide them the mentorship needed at this crucial stage of their career.

Online sessions will meet weekdays, Monday to Friday from 4:00-6:00pm EST. Additionally, students can expect to spend between 5-10 hours outside of class on activities and projects.

Our STEM Camps are for high school students (grades 9-12) only.

The ideal student is self-motivated and eager to deepen their understanding of STEM-related subjects.

There are no prerequisites other than an interest in STEM-related subjects.

Select the camp that you are interested in and scroll down to register.

Payment is due immediately upon registration. The deadline to register is Wednesday, March 31.

The two-week camp costs $495/student.

Unfortunately, discounts and scholarships are not available at this time. We hope that this is something we can offer need-based students in the future.

All registrations and payments are final and nonrefundable. Families are not able to reschedule or transfer into a different camp, once registered, so please consider course choices carefully. The Academy has the right to cancel the camp for any reason. If for any reason the Academy, cancels or postpones camp, registered participants will have the option to receive a refund or credit.

Students will earn a certificate from the Academy for successfully completing a STEM Camp.

The courses will be delivered via Zoom. A laptop or computer (Macs &amp PC’s both ok) with access to the Internet is required. In some cases, access to mobile devices will also be required. Additional software requirements vary by camp - please see individual STEM Camp details for more information.

If you are experiencing issues for any reason, you can contact

You can share feedback directly with the instructor or by emailing Families will also be invited to complete a survey at the conclusion of the program, to provide additional feedback.

Images and Documents

Welcome To Your Brain Gym! Think Like A Neuroscientist

Ascorbic acid experiment. (A) Immunofluorescence of ascorbic acid experiment, analyzing the formation and disappearance of γ-H2AX foci after addition of DEXA alone and DEXA + ascorbic acid (AA). Arrows indicate γH2AX-positive cell foci. Objective 40X. (B) Percentage of γH2AX-positive cell foci in the different conditions (control, DEXA and DEXA + AA). CT2A DEXA w/o IR (p = 0.046), IR + 240 (p = 0.025). APP. PS1 L.1 DEXA IR + 240 (p=). App. PS1 L.3 DEXA IR + 240 (p = 0.014).

Welcome To Your Brain Gym! Think Like A Neuroscientist

Adult hippocampal neurogenesis within the brain. A) Dorsal dentate gyrus showing by immunofluorescences the Neural Stem Cells, NSCs. NSCs are double labeled with Sox2(red) & GFAP (green), while in B) it is possible to observe the new neuroblasts generated labelled by immunofluorescence with DCX (red). Confocal images at 20x and 40x.

24 hours’ time lapse videos showing the CT2A (Mouse Glioma Cell line) under control condition. In Control conditions those cells have a high replicative behavior.

24 hours’ time lapse videos showing the CT2A (Mouse Glioma Cell line) with Dexamethasone treatment. When cells are treated with Dexamethasone, their replicative behavior is much lower and it is possible to see apoptotic cells.