Brainwave Learning Center 

A research-practice partnership with Stanford University @SynapseSchool


Our mission— forging new partnerships between learners, teachers, and researchers, to explore how our brain activity is transformed through learning experiences, and how new insights into our brainwaves can enrich how we experience education.



The Brainwave Learning Center (BLC) provides a novel, collaborative way to explore how educational experiences help shape brain development. Through dynamic interaction between researchers at Stanford University and students, teachers, and parents at Synapse School, the BLC is a place where everyone can explore the mysteries of the human mind and brain.

The BLC is a multifaceted initiative, including curriculum support for teachers, integration of best practices from learning sciences research, unique neuroscience learning opportunities for students at all levels, and leading-edge scientific research on the developing mind and brain. Approved Stanford education research studies, which occur alongside the many other functions of the BLC, are conducted in our on-site “Brainwave Recording Studio”. The goal of the BLC is to build deep relationships between cognitive neuroscience researchers and members of the school so we can more effectively explore how brain activity is transformed through learning experiences, and how those insights can, in turn, enrich education.

For example, together we can explore questions of how the sorts of learning that takes place at Synapse changes brain activity over the course of a week, over the course of a school year, and over the course of the whole journey from kindergarten through middle school. This is what sets us apart from other schools. 

"The Brainwave Learning Center - where everyone can explore the mysteries of the human mind and brain."



BLC News

  • Three BLC research assistants (all Synapse middle schoolers) reviewed a scholarly article by University of Maryland researchers in the journal Frontiers for Young Minds: NeuroscienceRead it here! 
  • Blog post by BLC Director, Liz Toomarian, describing the BLC initiative for the Center for Educational Neuroscience at University College London.
  • The BLC is highlighted in Stanford University's Graduate School of Education newsletter. 


Meet the BLC Team

Cha Cha & Liz introduce Level I students to the Brainwave Learning Center. 

Liz Toomarian, PhD, Director of the Brainwave Learning Center

Cha Cha Pillai, Brainwave Learning Center Research & Program Coordinator

Bruce McCandliss, PhD, Department of Psychology at Stanford