The Biology Department’s Neuroscience Program has facilitated their book club each semester for many years and offers participation to students, faculty, and staff. This fall’s meeting featured Benjamin Ehrlich’s The Brain in Search of Itself: Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the Story of the Neuron. Over the course of three meetings, about 40 students and faculty mused over Cajal’s life, endeavors, and accomplishments.

The Brain in Search of Itself describes the life and, sometimes tumultuous, journey of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852 – 1934), the forefather of modern neuroscience research. In addition to accomplishments as an artist and philosopher, Cajal determined the nervous system is comprised of individual cells with distinctive roles, similar to other organs in the body. As the 1906 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Cajal became the sixth scientist to obtain this award and the first to highlight scientific achievements in Spain.

Wake Forest University students have the opportunity to study in Spain and walk the very streets Cajal did during his years of research. As a part of the Neuroscience in Salamanca Study Abroad program, students study at the Neuroscience Institute at the University of Salamanca where they can choose from Biology, Psychology, Spanish, and Humanities required and elective courses as well as embark on guided trips around Spain including a visit to the Cajal Institute founded in 1900.

Spring semester will bring a new journey for students, faculty, and staff who wish to join the conversation. Neuroscience faculty will explore Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. Sacks was a practicing neurologist and writer for 50 years where he learned and shared neurological conditions and quandaries of his patients. In Musicophilia, Sacks discusses the position of music in brain function and human behavior.

The Spring 2023 Neuroscience Book Club will reconvene in January. Please contact Colleen Foy, ZSR’s Science Librarian, or Dr. Wayne Silver or Dr. Katy Lack with the Biology Department for more information.