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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Graduate student integrates music, neuroscience in research by Mila Abushmaies

Mila Abushmaies writes, "After working an eight-hour day at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Don Vaughn changed out of his lab coat and drove to Los Angeles International Airport last week to catch his flight to New York, where he performed the next day."
Don Vaughn, a neuroscience graduate student, drummer and part-time DJ, will speak at TEDxUCLA Saturday. Vaughn will discuss his research into using the brain’s plasticity and sensory substitution to solve neural problems. Photo: Daily Bruin

Vaughn, a graduate student in neuroscience and part-time drummer and DJ, will speak at TEDxUCLA on Saturday about his research on brain elasticity. He will discuss how sensory substitution can be used to rewire the brains of those with neural problems.

“I want the audience to take away an appreciation for the incredible flexibility of our brain to rewire itself,” Vaughn said.

Pam Douglas, an assistant neurology professor at UCLA, said she will help Vaughn demonstrate his research with a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine after his presentation.

Vaughn recently assisted Dr. Mark Cohen, a neurology professor at UCLA, and Victoria Vesna, director of UCLA Art|Sci Center, with a live experiment that examined how brain waves react to music and color, Cohen said.

“Don is as excited about science as he is about his music, and I think that’s really rare,” Douglas said. “He brings a level of positivity to the learning environment that isn’t always present because scientists tend to be very skeptical.”

Vaughn, a San Diego native, began playing the drums at age 13 because a girl told him she thought drumming was cute. He continued to play at local shows with his high school band, Forensik.


Source: Daily Bruin