5081826831_b8f7dec174_o September 30

To See, but not to See

In 2008, a man shocked researchers when he successfully walked through a hallway cluttered with boxes, trash cans, and other junk without stumbling into anything. That may not seem terribly impressive (particularly if you’re used to navigating through a messy bedroom every night), but here’s the catch: that man was blind. That man, known as […]

rbbrains September 22

Left Brain, Right Brain, Red Brain, Blue Brain

With the first presidential debate of 2016 quickly approaching, it’s a good time to consider whether your brain has already cast its vote. There is no shortage of articles that imply your political leanings are reflected in your brain’s structure and function (e.g. Is your brain liberal or conservative?—Fox News, Experts say liberal and conservative […]

eye-609987_1280 September 15

I’m not crying; it’s just been raining on my face

Humans and turtles have many things in common: we both possess four limbs, two eyes, a shell around our most vulnerable secrets, and tears that are attractive to butterflies and bees [1,2]. Our salt-rich tears, it seems, are much more palatable (and nutritious) to insects than they are to ourselves. Julia butterflies drinking turtle tears […]

drunk_driving_simulator_montreal_by_caa_of_quebec September 08

Car Talk

For many Americans—and southern Californians in particular—a good chunk of our lives occurs in the confines of a car above a tangle of highways (or side streets). Time spent in traffic is the pits, so it’s no small wonder that drivers might dabble in multi-tasking.  Driving itself involves a coordination of many tasks, both perceptual […]

14060256_10210162881369245_1746773970_o September 01

Mentors Like Us: Expanding Diversity Research Program Curricula

STEM diversity initiatives should shift the focus from solely providing resources to also investigating why the vast majority of minority students stray from academia.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 1.27.18 AM August 25

To diet or not to diet: what does your brain think?

“It is easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet.” Margaret Mead [En español] In the US, about 50% of 10-year-olds have been on a diet [1]. Seriously. Tips for dieting and recipes for quickly losing weight saturate the media: from the most straightforward of dieting mantras, “eat less, exercise more,” to […]

frozen addicts August 18

Mind your P’s and T’s: How tainted drugs revolutionized Parkinson’s research

[En español] In 1982, a man was brought to a hospital in the Bay Area of California in a curious condition.  The man was completely catatonic (immobile), and was frozen into an awkward, statue-like posture.  Doctors initially diagnosed him with catatonic schizophrenia, a sub-type of schizophrenia characterized by rigidity and unresponsiveness. However, this diagnosis did […]

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 12.00.26 AM August 11

Alzheimer’s disease: back to the basics & exploring new frontiers

When my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), I wanted to better understand what exactly was happening in his brain as his memory slowly deteriorated. Perhaps this drive came from innate scientific curiosity, or perhaps burying myself in the gritty molecular details was my attempt at escaping from the emotional gravity of the situation.

autism August 04

Funding Autism Research

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses many developmental disorders that cover a range of symptoms. While some people with ASD might have mild symptoms, others may stand out due to issues with social communication and language, for instance. Fortunately, scientists recognize that we need to accurately identify and treat individuals with ASD, beginning in early childhood […]

Ebbinghaus2 July 28

To improve your memory, try to get some space.

Imagine you have a big exam or work presentation at the end of the week. You’ll have to do it all from memory, so you have some studying to do. How should you decide how much to prepare? Do you practice everything once? Twice? More? It’s intuitive (and true) that more repetition results in stronger, […]