Neuroscientist, educator, TV host Heather Berlin to speak Nov. 14 at URI

Talk is eighth lecture of Honors Colloquium

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Heather Berlin

KINGSTON, R.I.- November 3, 2017- Known most notably for her work in science communication and outreach, neuroscientist Heather Berlin will present a lecture titled “The Dynamic Unconscious Mind” as part of this year’s Honors Colloquium at the University of Rhode Island. The lecture will be held Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in Edwards Hall, 64 Upper College Road.

The focus of Berlin’s research is brain-behavior relationships and how they affect the prevention and treatment of impulsive and compulsive psychiatric disorders. Beyond this, Berlin studies the neural basis of consciousness, dynamic unconscious processes and creativity. Berlin is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a visiting scholar at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

Berlin is working toward a better understanding of the neural basis of impulsivity, compulsivity, and emotion with the hope of developing more targeted research. As part of her research, she uses a number of different methods to test brain lesions and compulsive, impulsive and personality disorder patients.

“Dr. Berlin is interested in the relationship between the unconscious and conscious self. She examines how what goes on in our unconscious impacts our conscious thoughts and vice versa,” said Alycia Mosley Austin, associate director of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, and one of the coordinators of the Honors Colloquium. “Additionally she looks at how thoughts or emotions affect our conscious experience. How does our brain take things we are conscious of and make them unconscious and what does that mean for our sense of self?”

In addition to scientific research, Berlin is interested in science communication and serves as a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange, host of the PBS series Science Goes to the Movies, and the Discovery Channel series Superhuman Showdown.

Berlin received her doctorate in experimental psychology/neuropsychology from University of Oxford, Magdalen College and her Master of Public Health from Harvard University specializing in psychiatric epidemiology and health care management/policy. She earned her Master’s in psychology from The New School for Social Research and Bachelor of Science from SUNY Stony Brook. Berlin was a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai working on compulsive, impulsive, personality, and anxiety disorders.

Titled, “Origins: Life, the Universe and Everything,” this fall’s colloquium addresses such questions as “Where did we come from? How did the universe begin? How did intelligent, rational beings arise? And from such humble beginnings, how did we develop a mind that can ask these big questions? Now in its 54th year, the colloquium is the University’s premier public lecture series, offering lectures on most Tuesday evenings through Dec. 5. Berlin’s lecture will be shown on the web at

Sponsors: Honors Program • URI Office of the President • URI Office of the Provost • 125th Anniversary Steering Committee • URI Foundation • The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment • The Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment • URI College of Arts & Sciences • URI College of Pharmacy • URI John Hazen White Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service • URI Gender and Women’s Studies Program • URI Office of Community, Equity and Diversity • URI College of Engineering • URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences • URI College of Health Sciences • URI College of Business Administration • URI College of Nursing • URI Division of Student Affairs • URI Department of Communications and Marketing • URI Department of Publications and Creative Services • URI ITS Instructional Technology and Media Services • URI Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies • George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience.

Olivia Ross, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations major, wrote this press release.