Congressman Patrick Kennedy speaking on mental health tomorrow, Dec. 1, to kick off launch of URI’s new interdisciplinary neuroscience program

KINGSTON, R.I. December 1, 2011 – To celebrate the launch of the University of Rhode Island’s new interdisciplinary graduate neuroscience program, U.S. Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy will speak about mental health tomorrow, Dec. 1, at noon.

There will be time for the media to ask questions at the end of his talk, which will be in the Memorial Union Ballroom, 50 Lower College Road. Kennedy is co-founder of One Mind for Research, a newly formed national coalition that is seeking cures for neurological and psychiatric diseases that afflict one in every three Americans.

URI’s graduate interdisciplinary neuroscience program offers master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees with the goal of educating scientists and professors who can contribute to private and public sector research and industry.

To introduce the neuroscience program to the scientific and academic community, the president of Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Patrick Aebischer, will visit the University next week. A neuroscientist, Aebischer is world-renowned for his research on the development of cell and gene transfer approaches for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases that affect millions of people, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. He will be at URI Dec. 5 through 7, 2011 and introduce the new major Tuesday, Dec. 6, when he speaks on, “Viral vectors and neurodegenerative disease,” at 4 p.m. at the University Club, Upper College Road.

As part of the Distinguished International Visiting Scholar Program, Aebischer will speak on “The globalization of higher education institutions: a European view,” on Monday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. in the Lippitt Hall Auditorium, 5 Lippitt Road, Kingston.

The new major taps into 32 University professors and researchers who are already doing neuroscience work in their specific areas. It draws on the expertise of 15 departments and that number will grow.