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Miami Neurosurgeon’s Expertise Tapped for ‘Brain Odyssey’ Exhibit at Frost Museum of Science

Neurologists call the brain the “crown jewel of the human body.” It orchestrates all of our daily functions, taking in thousands of signals from the world and making sense of them in milliseconds. In “Brain Odyssey,” a new exhibit at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science installed in partnership with Baptist Health Brain & Spine Care, guests get to explore the brain in fascinating detail to better understand what makes us tick, museum representatives say.


(Watch now: Michael McDermott, M.D., chief medical executive of Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute, is the driving force behind Brain Odyssey, a new exhibit at the Frost Museum of Science. Video by George Carvalho.)


“‘Brain Odyssey’ is a digital exploration of the human brain that takes you on a deep dive inside the brain and its structures,” says Cory Keester-O’Mills, exhibits exhibition developer at Frost Museum of Science. “The interactive exhibit takes you from the surface layer down through the various levels of the brain until you actually get to the atomic level.” There, he says, visitors can look at the movement of neurotransmitters between synapses and learn how the brain works at both the micro and macro levels.


The mission of Frost Museum of Science is to inspire people to explore the universe and everything that includes – “including our bodies,” according to Mr. Keester-O’Mills. He says that “Brain Odyssey” is part of the Museum’s ME Lab, also sponsored by Baptist Health. “ME Lab is intended to help people better understand their body, anatomy, biology and health," he says.


Michael McDermott, M.D., chief medical executive of Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute and one of the world’s leading neurosurgeons, was a driving force behind “Brain Odyssey.” He says the high-tech display is a window into the mysteries of the brain.



Michael McDermott, M.D., chief medical executive of Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute



“Even for neurosurgeons like myself, the brain remains largely a mystery, which is part of the fun because there’s lots left for us to discover,” Dr. McDermott says. “But I think it’s important for people to understand that the brain is not completely a black box. It has structure. It’s not there for a decoration of the human body – it’s there for a reason.”


Dr. McDermott says that “Brain Odyssey” will give people of all ages a better appreciation of the brain’s complexity. “It shows the surface anatomy of the brain and all of the brain’s different parts, including its arteries, veins, lobes and substructures,” he says.


Visitors will be impressed with the interactive graphic displays, 3D animation and the ability to touch different tabs on the screen that explain what each part of the brain does, Dr. McDermott predicts.


“One of the unique features of ‘Brain Odyssey’ is its display of what happens at the microscopic level,” says Dr. McDermott. “You’ll see how very complex and specific receptors on the membrane of synapses allow for interaction between cells, and how those interactions are not all electrical but also chemical.”


Dr. McDermott says he likes the “Brain Odyssey” display so much, he hopes to have a duplicate made for the lobby of Miami Neuroscience Institute. “Patients and their families will be able to visualize the brain’s structures and learn more about this organ they’re entrusting to our care,” he says, adding that he would like to have similar interactive displays created for the spine and peripheral nervous system.


“The brain is cool, complex and interesting, and the ‘Brain Odyssey’ display is a lot of fun, no matter what your age,” Dr. McDermott says. “Who knows, it might even inspire someone to consider a career in neuroscience, neurosurgery or neurology.”

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