February 15

Botox: The good, the bad and the beautiful

Awards season is upon us. From the Golden Globes to the Grammys to the Oscars, we’ve seen celebrities posing on the red carpet, chatting with TV hosts, and accepting awards on stage. All the while I’ve found myself wondering, “Is he happy?” “Is she disappointed?” “Are emotions just out this season?” The star behind that […]

February 08

Did you do that?

Limited only perhaps by my emotional fortitude and physical abilities, I am unquestionably in control of myself. This sense is perhaps drawn most into question first thing in the morning when I play both sides of an internal civil war: on one side, my bed, on the other, the cold cruel world. Both sides battle […]

February 01

A Recipe for the Brain

How confident would you be in making a Victorian Tennis Cake, given a set of ingredients and the recipe? What about with a vague list of instructions instead of a detailed recipe? If you’ve ever watched The Great British Baking Show, this concept is familiar to you as the “technical challenge”. Britain’s best amateur bakers […]

January 25

Instant Gratification: Weighing the Psychological Benefits and Costs of MDMA Use

Can a pill exist that brings instant happiness without any negative side effects? Probably not.

January 18

I Feel Your Pain – The Social Transmission of Pain in Mice

We all know that emotions are contagious.  Your trip to the DMV might see you infected with that peculiar emotion – something halfway between apathy and misanthropy – that is endemic to the DMV.  On the other hand, your ray-of-sunshine coworker just may brighten up your day (unless you happen to work at the DMV). […]

January 11

A Tribute to Ben Barres

I was thoroughly star-struck. Ben did not exactly look like a celebrity in his usual cargo shorts (in October in Chicago!) and sneakers, but the impact of his science and his tireless fight for gender equality in academia had made him a hero to me and thousands of others.

January 04

The Campus Tour – Let’s Spread the Science

Are you a scientist? Are you interested in science communication? Then keep reading! Imagine a scene that might have taken place last week… You were sitting at the table with your relatives, stuffing your face with delicious home-cooked food and chatting about the latest nonsense in the news. Everyone is quite entertained, maybe someone has […]

December 28

Machines Comparing Circuitry (or, Understanding Our Uniquely Human Brain)

I became fascinated by the brain because I was – and continue to be – fascinated by humans. Why are we so obsessed with other people’s lives, including (sometimes especially) those whom we’ve never met? How are we able to communicate such complex emotions with a raise of an eyebrow or even just a glance? […]

December 21

Can a corpse have an orgasm?

Can a corpse have an orgasm?   It’s not entirely unlikely [1]. The clue comes from patients with spinal cord injuries. Let’s start with the spinal cord, and we’ll come back to dead bodies in a bit.   Traffic Jam The spinal cord–a long thin bundle of nervous tissue running from the base of the […]

December 14

Star Wars Science: Sci-Fi Syndrome, Neuroprosthetics, and Luke Skywalker’s Hand

It’s that time of year, friends. Holiday lights are going up, snow is starting to fall, and a new Star Wars movie is about to come out! We’re all amped up to see the next chapter in Rey’s journey, this time with an experienced mentor by her side. In the new film The Last Jedi, […]