News & Events


January 21, 2015

Melanie Cheung speaks at UW

Dr. Melanie Cheung (Ngāti Rangitihi, Te Arawa), a Fulbright New Zealand scholar developing a brain resilience training program for Huntington’s disease, presented “Brains AND Heart: The perfect marriage?” to the UW community on Wednesday, October 29. Dr. Cheung is committed to exploring both Indigenous and Western scientific paradigms to help people with neurodegenerative diseases. She is currently based at the Brain Plasticity Institute, Posit Science in San Francisco, working with Professor Michael Merzenich to develop a culturally-responsive brain plasticity-based training program.
Melanie Cheung2014Dr. Cheung is known for her research developing culturally respectful laboratory practices for working with human tissue and integrating Maori values into clinical practice (featured in Science 2007, 318:907).Her work integrates experimental neurobiology, bioethics, tikanga (ceremony/customary) and Mātauranga Māori (Maori traditional knowledge).
In her presentation, Dr. Cheung spoke about her community and the support and guidance that Maori scientists and community advisors offered as she developed her approach to culturally-sensitive science. She also spoke on the research conducted at the Brain Plasticity Institute, including Posit Science, co-founded by Dr. Merzenich, and the brain training program BrainHQ. She demonstrated some of BrainHQ’s brain training programs as part of her presentation. Dr. Cheung presented her research at the National Institutes of Health on November 4, 2014.
The University of Washington presentation was presented by the Fulbright Scholar Program Outreach Learning Fund and the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute.