The Science of Love

Date & Time


About Simons Foundation Presents
A free event series, Simons Foundation Presents aims to engage a diverse public audience in a wide range of accessible, meaningful and fun science and mathematics programming.

Nothing is more treasured — and mysterious — than the bond between mother and child. After a mother gives birth, her brain and body change in ways that enable her to care for the new life. Bianca Jones Marlin examines the brain dynamics behind these changes, some of which are ‘remembered’ in the genes and passed down for generations. In her talk, she will challenge the age-old concept of ‘nature vs. nurture’ and show how a bridge between learned and innate animal behaviors is built. Audience members will also have an opportunity to participate using their senses to explore the real-time effects of neurochemicals in social learning.

About the Speaker

Bianca Jones Marlin is a neuroscientist and postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Richard Axel, where she investigates how traumatic experiences in parents affect the brain structure of their offspring. She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from New York University and dual bachelor’s degrees in biology and adolescent education from St. John’s University.  As a graduate student, her research focused on the vital bond between parent and child, and she studied the use of neurochemicals, such as the “love drug” oxytocin, as a treatment to strengthen fragile and broken parent-child relationships.

Marlin aims to utilize neurobiology and the science of learning to better inform both the scientific and educational community on how positive experiences dictate brain health, academic performance and social well-being. Her research has been featured in the Los Angeles TimesThe Guardian and Scientific American and as one of Discover magazine’s “100 Top Stories of 2015.”

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