Syntax/Synapse: "How We Inherit" with Adam Haslett and Rebecca Brachman

11/27/2017 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Fiction/Creative Nonfiction

Many neuropsychiactric disorders have a hereditary element. If you have a depressed parent, you're twice as likely to experience depression. With bipolar disorder, you're four times more at risk. How does one process the idea that mental illness might be written into one's DNA?


In his National Book Award-nominated novel Imagine Me Gone, award-winning author Adam Haslett unflinchingly depicts one family's struggle with inter-generational chronic mental illness, depicting the impact despair and grief can have on those people closest to us. Haslett will be joined by neuroscientist Rebecca Brachman to discuss the science behind genetic predisposition, the implications of inheriting mental illness, and what it would mean if we could “vaccinate” against depression. A pioneer the field of preventative psychopharmacology, Brachman and her colleagues aim to create drugs which enhance psychological resilience against stress and prevent mental illness.


Syntax/Synapse is a series of programs and essays exploring the intersections between literature and neuroscience, presented in partnership with the Princeton Social Neuroscience Lab and YHouse. Syntax/Synapse is generously funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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