Rotary Club of Dunedin member Ruth Empson (Department of Physiology, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Otago) is presenting her Inaugural Professorial Lecture on Tuesday 12th February 2019 at 5.30pm. The venue will be the Archway 1 Lecture Theatre, Union Street East on the University of Otago campus. 

Ruth Empson’s research aims to understand how the connections between brain cells, called synapses, work together to change the neural output patterns of specialist brain regions. This process is called neuroplasticity. Her specific interest is to identify how neuroplasticity drives changes in the brain regions that are critical for perception and movement.

Most recently, as a New Zealand Fulbright Scholar in the USA, she has explored ways to assess how neuroplasticity contributes to changes in eye movements. This work is also helping the search for new targets to treat specific movement disorders called cerebellar ataxias.

Throughout her research she applies high-resolution electrical measurements and optical imaging, and is currently pioneering state-of-the-art optical sensors to enable real-time synaptic monitoring in the awake brain. She also holds a career-long passion for conveying knowledge and the rich benefits of curiosity-driven scientific research to students of all ages. More Details