Special Presentations

Free and Open to the Public 

Spring 2017 Special Presentations

(Registration is requested so that we have a sense for how many will attend, but it is not required. You can register online by linking from the presentation titles below, or just call the OLLI office at 434.923.3600 or toll-free 877.861.9207.)


(L15) Brave and Bold New Brain Science: Novel Neurotechnologies and the Importance of Neuroethics

Friday, April 7, 2017 from 1:30-3:00 p.m.

at Unity of Charlottesville, 2825 Hydraulic Road

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Dr. James Giordano

Advances in technology have enabled rapid progress in brain science. Brain imaging, neurostimulatory and prosthetic devices, as well as development of unique drugs have shown promise in treating brain diseases and injury. As well, these neurotechnologies can be used to deepen our understanding of consciousness, thought, emotions and behaviors, may influence concepts of mind and self, and may expand the capabilities of human-machine interactions, and boundaries of human performance. In these ways, neurotechnology has the potential to transform numerous aspects of society. Such realities – and near-future possibilities – also prompt ethical questions: Who shall receive such treatments and enhancements?  Are there limits? Who decides? And, of course, what about using these new tools for economic or even political purposes?

In this lecture, renowned neuroscientist and neuroethicist Dr. James Giordano explores the new toolkit of the brain sciences, and addresses neuroethical questions, issues and problems – and poses pathways to guide and govern the safe and sound development and use of cutting-edge brain science in society. Dr. James Giordano is Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry; and Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC.  Prof. Giordano is Senior Science Advisory Fellow to the Strategic Multilayer Assessment Group of the Pentagon, and serves as an appointed member of the both the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Council on Human Research Protections, and the Neuroethics, Legal and Social Issues Advisory Panel of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  As well, he is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Brain Science, Technology and Ethics at the Coburg University of Applied Sciences, Coburg, Germany.  A neuroscientist with over 30 years’ experience in basic and translational research upon neural mechanisms of decision-making and neuropsychiatric spectrum disorders, his current work also focuses upon neuroethical and legal issues arising in and from the use of advanced neurotechnologies in medicine, public life, and national security and defense. He is the author of over 250 publications and 7 books in neuroscience and neuroethics, and is author or editor of 11 governmental whitepapers on bioscience, biotechnology and biosecurity.


 (L14) Indies at Vinegar Hill,

Featuring Familiar Strangers

Friday, April 21 from 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Located at Unity of Charlottesville

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Are you a fan of independent film? Do you want to learn more about the increasingly popular “indie” film movement? Do you know that Independent Films have returned to Vinegar Hill Theater? Vinegar Hill Theater is now home to Light House Studio, a non-profit filmmaking center focusing on teaching and mentoring young people in all aspects of independent film production—with amazingly wonderful results! In addition, Vinegar Hill Theater now screens independent films on the third Thursday of each month, sponsored by Indie Film Minute and Light House Studio.

So, come to Unity of Charlottesville, learn more about independent film, and watch Familiar Strangers, produced by Barry Sisson and filmed in our own Staunton, Virginia!

Deanna Gould: As head of production for Cinesite Europe, Deanna successfully completed special effects work for films including Harry Potter I and II, Bond XX Die Another Day and Tomb Raider. Her awards include an ADDY, a CLIO, and numerous medals from the International Film and TV Festival of New York. Before becoming Light House’s staff Executive Director in September 2009, she was a board member and mentor for two years.

Barry R Sisson: Following success in the corporate world, Barry embarked on a career in film, choosing a path focused on the more artistic and thoughtful independently produced films. He refers to the production of the first film with which he was involved, The Station Agent, as his film school, from which he went on to produce two additional features, Charlie’s Party and Familiar Strangers (shot in Staunton Virginia).  More recently, Barry founded and continues to be centrally involved in the Indie Film Minute where he creates and manages all manner of activities: a syndicated radio feature, an active social media presence, and curated interactive film screenings, all in support of independent film.


(L16) The Great Influenza Epidemic in Charlottesville and Albemarle County

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Friday, May 19 from 1:30-3:00 p.m.

at Unity of Charlottesville, 2825 Hydraulic Road

From the summer of 1918 to the spring of 1919 a worldwide epidemic of deadly influenza killed millions. In those few months millions of Americans caught the flu and almost 700,000 died, more than all who died in America’s wars combined (except the Civil War). The medical system was overwhelmed, and government at all levels struggled to respond. The epidemic left few families, rich or poor, untouched. When it arrived in Charlottesville-Albemarle in September 1918, the community faced a crisis as hospitals filled, doctors and nurses worked virtually around the clock, and volunteers stepped forward to care for the sick and dying. This presentation and discussion will focus on an overview of what happened nationally and on events in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Participants whose families preserved stories about the epidemic are encouraged to bring them to the discussion.

Addeane Caelleigh is a historian with special interests in social and cultural aspects of extreme events such as epidemics and natural disasters. She worked in academic publishing for many years, including serving as editor in chief of Academic Medicine. Recently retired from the faculty of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and still serving as a visiting scholar, she is currently researching the 1918-1919 Influenza Epidemic in central Virginia.