Physiology Professor Katalin Gothard to Present “Mind-Body Dialogue” Feb. 19 at College of Science’s Popular Lecture Series

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Katalin, Gothard, MD, PhD, professor of physiology and neuroscience, is one of the featured speakers at the University of Arizona College of Science’s popular annual lecture series. This is the second year she has been invited to participate. Her presentation on “Mind-Body Dialogue” is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m.

Dr. Gothard will discuss how changes in the body influence the mind, and how health and disease can be better understood via the exchange of biological signals between the brain and body. Gothard is a Kavil Fellow and has received two teaching awards from the College of Medicine.

This year’s lecture series theme is Searching for Certainty. The lecture series marks its 14th year with presentations that provide insight into how the scientific community works together to establish scientific truth that grows and evolves over time. The six free lectures are on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., on the UA campus. Parking is available for a fee in the Tyndall Avenue Garage, 880 E. Fourth St.

Dr. Gothard studies the neural basis of emotion and social behavior. In her lecture she will explore how, for the most part, we are unaware of the dialogue between the brain and the body, yet these conversations are critical for our well-being.

Describing her talk, Dr. Gothard said, “We rarely hear people say that they are not thinking straight because their kidney or liver is not in good working condition. The brain is always blamed for our mental failures because we believe that our thoughts and feelings arise exclusively from the brain and the rest of our body simply stands by. In reality, the brain exchanges continuously millions of bits of information with each compartment of our body. For the most part we are unaware of the dialogue between the brain and the body, yet these conversations are critical for our well-being and our mental and physical health. Close examination of these conversations allows us to see the brain and the mind in a new light – emerging from the convergence of pathways that connect the brain to all the organs of our body.”

In a recent article about the lecture series in the Arizona Daily Star, Dr. Gothard said, "These connections have been unknown, ignored or denied at various times and by various schools of thought. I will show how and why the content of the thoughts can influence the function of our internal organs and how the state of bodies influences the content of our thoughts.

“I ‘wiretap’ the emotional center of the brain (with microelectrodes) and listen in on the conversation between brain cells. For example, we found cells that signal eye contact between two individuals. Then I imagine what these signals might look like when these individuals are strangers, or are in love, or they just had a fight. Then I test these ideas experimentally to learn whether I was right or wrong. The best part is that I learn something important even if I was wrong. By decoding these signals I can get an idea of what might be going on in the brain when we experience an emotion or we engage in interactions with others.”

Dr. Gothard also is a UA assistant professor of neurobiology, an assistant professor with the UA Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute and the UA BIO5 Institute, and an associate professor with the UA Physiological Sciences – Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP).

Articles about Dr. Gothard and the College of Science Lecture Series:

Every speaker at the UA’s science lecture series is an incredibly interesting woman

College of Science Featured Speaker