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How Running Changes the Brain

NYC Runners + Dr. Karen Postal

Friday, March 13, 2020
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

“Run for your life!” takes on a new meaning when aerobic exercise is proven to generate new brain cells. This finding is a game-changer, since neuroscientists used to believe that the number of brain cells we are born with never increases. Now there is evidence that vigorous exercise—the kind that makes you really sweat—helps give birth to new brain cells, particularly in the area of the brain that encodes new memories.

Jessie Zapo, coach of Girls Run NYC and Adidas ambassador, is joined by Adam Francique, captain at Adidas Runners NYC, and neuropsychologist Dr. Karen Postal to elucidate the importance running has on not only the body but also the mind. This program begins with a screening of the short film Go Together, directed by Joshua Seftel.

About the speakers

Jessica Zapotechne (“Jessie Zapo”), dubbed “the first lady of running” by Charlie Dark (Run Dem Crew London), was an early member of the New York City”“based running group the Bridgerunners. Jessie’s work as a member, leader, and pacer with Bridgerunners over close to seven years inspired her to help create a space for women and new runners in New York City’s emerging “urban running” community. Jessie currently coaches Girls Run NYC, a collective of women who are from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and all levels of running experience and ability.

Adam Francique is the captain at Adidas Runners NYC, founder of The Body PRJCT, and co-founder of NNB-NYC and AFTER:MILES. Of his experience as captain of Adidas Runners NYC, he says, “We start with running and end somewhere so far from it. In short, as leaders in the community, we should put less focus on the sport and more on the people behind the sport. I’m talking [about] mental health, poverty, and self-image.” Adam also mentors at a program called Adidas BEYOND, where he uses running as a way to shift the mindsets and lives of high schoolers.

Dr. Karen Postal is a past president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology and a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on improving communication about neuroscience with patients and the general public. She is the author of Feedback that Sticks: The Art of Communicating Neuropsychological Assessment Results and Testimony That Sticks: The Art of Communicating Psychology and Neuropsychology to Jurors. Dr. Postal has a private practice dedicated to helping people think better in school, at work, and throughout later life. She also writes a blog on Psychology Today: Think Better: Neuroscience for Everyday Life.

Joshua Seftel is the director of the film Go Together, which is being screened at this program. He began his career at age 22 with the Emmy-nominated documentary film Lost and Found, about Romania’s orphaned and abandoned children. The public television broadcast of the film led to the American adoption of thousands of orphaned children. Next came the documentaries Taking on the Kennedys (POV), It’s a Hard Knock Life (PBS), The Home Team (SXSW), and The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, was released by the New York Times Op Docs, and was shown at the Rubin Museum in 2016. Seftel also directed the anti-war film War Inc., a political satire starring John Cusack, Ben Kingsley, and Marisa Tomei, as well as the groundbreaking Emmy-winning television program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Lead support for Brainwave is provided by Science Sandbox, an initiative of Simons Foundation, and by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Major support is provided by Gerry Ohrstrom, Rasika and Girish Reddy, and Noah P. Dorsky.

Program support is provided by Eileen Caulfield Schwab, Eva and Yoel Haller, Cheryl Henson, and Heather Beth Henson.


All tickets have been refunded. Please contact with Box Office at 212-620-5000 ext. 344 with questions.

Tickets: $28

Member Tickets: $22.40

Tickets go on sale at 11:00 AM on January 9. For access to the exclusive member presale on January 7 and 8, become a member today.