Neuroscientist's graphic novel takes readers on a journey into the brain

Matteo Farinella's "Neurocomic" uses illustrations and comic styling to show readers how the brain works

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ALBANY, NY (09/19/2017) (readMedia)-- The NYS Writers Institute will present neuroscientist and visual artist Matteo Farinella for a seminar on Friday, October 6, at 3:00 p.m. in the D'Ambra Auditorium, in the Life Sciences Building on the UAlbany uptown campus. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the NYS Writers Institute and the University at Albany's Department of Biology.

Albany, NY- How does your brain work? What's a neuron? What makes a memory memorable?

Neuroscientist, author and visual artist Matteo Farinella uses comics and illustrations to make the science of the brain accessible to the non-scientific audience. Co-author (with Hana RoŇ°) of the graphic novel Neurocomic (2013), Farinella will hold a seminar on Friday, October 6 at 3:00 p.m. in the D'Ambra Auditorium, Life Sciences Building, on the UAlbany uptown campus.

In a literary nod to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, the main character in Neurocomic falls down a different sort of rabbit hole, what he believes to be a forest strewn with tree roots and intertwined branches. He meets famed scientists such as Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, Sir Andrew Huxley and Ivan Pavlov, who explain this 'forest' is in fact the network of neurons in the brain. Through his black and white illustrations and dialogue, Farinella's character, and his readers, learn about the brain's functions in remarkably simple terms.

"The brain is very complex -- there are billions of neurons connected in ways that we are only beginning to understand," Farinella says. Paul Lipton, a neuroscientist at Boston University, agrees. "The brain is indeed a forest," he says, "whose trees, or neurons, are its defining feature."

In a review posted on www.bigthink.com, Bob Duggan calls Neurocomic "a visual and verbal rollercoaster ride into your own brain in hopes of bringing the non-brain surgeons of the world closer to cutting through all the scientific jargon and considering the big questions of brain versus mind, how we remember, and how we become who we are. A mind trip in every sense of the word, Neurocomic gets into your head to get you into your own head."

Farinella holds a doctorate in neuroscience from University College London. In 2016, he was named a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University, where he investigates the role of visual narratives in science communication. Working with science journalists, educators and cognitive neuroscientists, he aims to understand how these tools may affect the public perception of science and increase scientific literacy. His award-winning illustrations have been featured in exhibitions such as the Society of Illustrators Comics and Cartoon Art Annual Exhibition.

View a video on the making of Neurocomic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKlb5d6Rdb8

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at www.albany.edu/writers-inst.

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