Established on 03.04.2011 by Dr. Howard '53 and Sonia '58 Nornes and LaVern '54 and Lois '56 Nornes

The Nornes Lectureship in Neuroscience was the vision of Dr. Howard O. Nornes for the benefit of Concordia students and faculty and the broader community. Howard obtained a doctorate in neuroscience from Purdue University and did postdoctoral research at the University of Lund, Sweden, and the Max Planck Institute, Göttingen, Germany. He is a professor emeritus of neuroscience at Colorado State University and continues to teach courses in neuroplasticity of the adult brain. His major research interest was the development and regeneration of the nervous system, work that promotes healing and recovery of the function of the spinal cord and brain. Through the years, he has been involved in community programs to promote peace and social justice.

LaVern ’54 and Lois ’56 Nornes joined Howard and Sonia in establishing this lectureship. Following their Concordia education, LaVern and Lois began a lifetime of service to education, church, and community. LaVern was a high school biology teacher, a driver’s education instructor, and a high school hockey coach. Lois, a retired public school music teacher, was also director of music and senior choir director at their church, Transfiguration Lutheran. LaVern and Lois share a passion for advancing the impact of neuroscience research and discovery.

The purpose of the Nornes Lectureship in Neuroscience is to bring what is known about brain science into public dialogue that applies relevant concepts to our human condition, i.e., parenting, education, critical thinking, language development, moral development, and pedagogy. The lectureship is planned by the Neuroscience Department in consultation with the Office of the Provost.

Previous Nornes Lectureship in Neuroscience events:
March 27, 2023
“Understanding and Addressing Structural Racism and Health Inequities: The ‘Sleep Exposome Across the Life Course’ Example”
Speaker: Dr. Chandra Jackson
Jackson leads the Social and Environmental Determinants of Health Equity Research group in the Epidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences with a joint affiliation in the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Jackson investigates physical and social environmental factors that impact disparities in sleep health and subsequent risk of cardiometabolic dysfunction. Her research has been presented at national as well as international scientific conferences and published in both academic journals like JAMA Internal Medicine and SLEEP as well as major media outlets such as U.S. News & World Report and The New York Times. Her areas of research interests are in ADHD, 18q- syndrome, and autistic spectrum disorders and educational neuroscience.

March 14, 2022
“Sleep, Memory and Dreamings: A Unified Model”
Speaker: Dr. Robert Stickgold
Dr. Stickgold is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard University and director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Stickgold combines imaging, signaling, and behavioral research to study the role of sleep and dreams in memory.
March 15, 2021
“This is Your Brain on Music”
Speaker: Dr. Daniel J. Levitin 
Daniel J. Levitin is an award-winning neuroscientist, with research surrounding music and the brain, health, productivity, and creativity. He has published more than 300 articles in journals and his research has been featured over 1800 times in the popular press. In addition to Dr. Levitin's expertise in neuroscience, he is a best-selling author, having written multiple best-selling books: This Is Your Brain On Music, The World in Six Songs, The Organized Mind, and Successful Aging, and A Field Guide to Lies. A popular public speaker, he has given many presentations; notably, his TED talk on "How to stay calm when you know you'll be stressed" is among the most popular of all time.

March 19, 2020
“Learning and Using Two Languages May Change Your Mind and Brain”
Speaker: Dr. Judith Kroll
Dr. Kroll is a distinguished professor in the Department of Language Science at the University of California, Irvine, and co-founder of Women in Cognitive Science. Kroll will discuss bilingualism providing a tool for examining aspects of the cognitive and neural architecture that are otherwise obscured by the skill associated with native language performance in monolingual speakers. She’ll also consider the consequences that bilingualism holds more generally for cognition and learning.
March 12, 2019
"Serotonin and the Human Gut-Brain Axis"
Speaker: Dr. Arthur Beyder
Dr. Beyder has both a medical degree and a doctorate and works at the Mayo Clinic focused on functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as IBS. In his laboratory, researchers study cells that produce serotonin and variations in genes for sodium channels with the goal of improving the diagnosis process and developing new treatment options for people experiencing GI disorders.
April 16, 2018
"A Broader Vision of Object Recognition: Beyond the Cortex"
Speaker: Dr. Marlene Behrmann
Behrmann, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, is a pioneer and leader in the field of visual cognitive neuroscience, in 2015 she became the first female scientist at Carnegie Mellon to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. An expert in using functional imaging to elucidate the neural correlates of face recognition, word recognition, autism, dyslexia, and neurorehabilitation, Behrmann has published extensively and her work is often read and heard in science media outlets such as Science Daily, The New York Times, and CNN.
April 24, 2017
"A Broader Vision of Object Recognition: Beyond the Cortex"
Speaker: Dr. Miguel Nicolelis
Dr. Miguel Nicolelis is a neuroscience professor at the Duke University School of Medicine; a professor of neurobiology, biomedical engineering, psychology, and neuroscience at Duke University; and the founder of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering. He will speak on his groundbreaking work and research with neuroprosthetics and the construction of exoskeletons connected to the subject’s brain.
March 10, 2016
"Bulimia Nervosa: Translating from Biobehavioral Science to Clinical Intervention"
Speaker: Dr. Stephen A. Wonderlich
Dr. Wonderlich, a 1978 Concordia graduate, is the Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, and associate chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He currently holds a joint appointment with Sanford Health, where he is the chair of Eating Disorders and co-director of the Eating Disorder and Weight Management Center. He also serves as the director of Clinical Research at the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo.