The Drs. Peter and Marlene MacLeish Endowed Lectureship

Drs. Peter and Marlene MacLeish Endowed Lectureship

Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) proudly announced the establishment of the Drs. Peter and Marlene MacLeish Endowed Lectureship in March 2018, recognizing MSM’s commitment to supporting neuroscience and to celebrate the contributions Peter and Marlene have made to advance education and scientific research at MSM.

The Drs. Peter and Marlene MacLeish Endowed Lectureship Series is a Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) event established to:

  • Recognize and celebrate the contribution of basic science, particularly neuroscience, to Morehouse School of Medicine,
  • Invigorate and inspire students and junior faculty, and
  • Inform the general public about advances in biomedical science and its impact on health.

The lectureship was established in 2017, thanks to initial funding gifts from Dr. Zach Hall, Former Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, his wife Julie Ann Giacobassi and Dr. Torsten Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and President Emeritus of The Rockefeller University.

Honoring a Legacy

To honor the legacy of Drs. Peter and Marlene MacLeish and to ensure its continuation, Morehouse School of Medicine and its gracious donors have created an initial $200,000 endowment to support this high-profile lecture series bringing outstanding biomedical scientists to the MSM campus and surrounding community. You are invited to further support the Drs. Peter and Marlene MacLeish Endowed Lectureship, by making a gift online by visiting

The 2nd Annual Drs. Peter and Marlene MacLeish Endowed Lectureship lectures, titled, "Deciphering the Dynamics of the Unconscious Brain Under General Anesthesia," included the following:

  • Community Presentation and Q&A Discussion: Wednesday, March 27, at 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

5:30pm - 6:00pm:  Reception

Dr. Brown will discuss Propofol, the most widely used anesthetic drug, which was implicated in the death of Michael Jackson. The lecture will also provide an overview of the five behavioral states that can occur under general anesthesia: unconsciousness, loss of memory, pain sensation and mobility, as well as stability of physiological variables (e.g. heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and stress response).

  • Scientific Lecture: Thursday, March 28, from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

This scientific session will bring together some of the greatest minds in neuroscience and anesthesiology highlighting human studies of general anesthesia. Emery N. Brown, M.D., Ph.D. will discuss measurements of brain activity, and provide a detailed characterization of the changes in brain activity that occur during loss and recovery of consciousness due to various anesthetic drugs.

Sponsored by United Negro College Fund and the E.E. Just Institute with generous support from the Genentech Foundation.

Lecture Speaker

Dr. Emery BrownDr. Emery Brown

This year's lecturer is Emery N. Brown, Ph.D, M.D., Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and Professor of Computational Neuroscience, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Emery N. Brown is an internationally renowned anesthesiologist-statistician-neuroscientist. He has pioneered the use of systems neuroscience to decipher the mechanisms of anesthetic agents. His experimental research has identified maintenance of extracellular current oscillations in brain circuits as a primary mechanism through which anesthetics create the states of general anesthesia. These insights have led to new paradigms for monitoring the brain states of patient receiving general anesthesia, as well as neurophysiologically-based strategies for anesthetic drug dosing and for controlling precisely the anesthetic state. Dr. Brown is also widely recognized for his development of signal processing algorithms to characterize accurately the dynamic properties of neuroscience data.

He received his B.A. (magna cum laude) in Applied Mathematics from Harvard College, his M.A. and Ph.D. in statistics from Harvard University and his M.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Medical School. He completed his internship in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and his residency in anesthesiology at MGH.

Dr. Brown is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. He is one of 21 people who are currently members of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Brown also served on President Obama’s NIH Brain Initiative Working Group. He has received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the National Institute of Statistical Sciences Sacks Award and the American Society of Anesthesiologists Excellence in Research Award.

Learn more about Dr. Brown.

The Inaugural Lectures

The inaugural Drs. Peter and Marlene MacLeish Endowed Lectureship Lectures were held on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Nobel Prize winner Martin Chalfie, Ph.D., co-recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the introduction of GFP as a biological marker. He is also a university professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. Learn more and watch the recorded lectures here.

About Drs. Peter and Marlene MacLeish

  • Marlene MacLeish, Ed.D.

    Marlene MacLeish

    Marlene MacLeish, Ed.D., was recruited to MSM in 1995, as an internationally known spokeswoman for science education and health disparities research. She has published widely on STEM education and served in many leadership roles to advance science education.

    • Published The Brain in Space: A Teacher’s Guide with Activities for Neuroscience.
    • Served as the executive producer of a six-part radio series, Biomedical Science for Space Travelers, and a documentary film, Exploring Two Frontiers: The Brain in Space, which aired on Public Broadcasting Services-USA.
    • Served on many boards, including the Board of Trustees of the International Academy of Aeronautics: France; Emory University Board of Visitors, the National Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy Advisory Board, and the Fernbank Science Center - Space Station Advisory Committee.
    • Earned the Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.) from the University of Western Ontario, Canada; The Woman of Distinction Award, Brescia College, Canada; there is also a Dr. Marlene MacLeish Endowment Fund by The Congress of Black Women of Canada in London, Canada.
  • Peter MacLeish, Ph.D.

    Peter MacLeish

    Peter MacLeish, Ph.D., was also recruited to MSM in 1995 and subsequently honored as the George H.W. and Barbara Bush Professor of Neuroscience. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, where he is a Section Chair and a former member of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Council and of the Advisory Committee to the Director of NIH. Additionally, he was a member of NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) working group. Most notably, his arrival at MSM marked the establishment of the Neuroscience Institute.

    Under Dr. Peter MacLeish’s leadership as the first Director of the Neuroscience Institute:

    • Institute faculty members have received a total of 69 awards, including 50 NIH awards, totaling $77.6 million.
    • Morehouse School of Medicine established a Department of Neurobiology.
    • The Specialized Neuroscience Research Program was expanded with a U54 award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to support neuroscience programs at other minority institutions.
    • The Neuroscience Institute implemented a degree program in collaboration with Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University giving undergraduate students the opportunity to obtain a B.S./M.S. within 5 years of starting their undergraduate programs.