November 16

Breaking Rad: The story behind “Rad Scientist”

  A year and change ago, I decided to start making podcasts – those on demand audio files that our parents and grandparents have trouble finding.  I wanted to produce audio stories that capture the amazing science happening in the San Diego area.  And I wanted these stories to focus on the scientists themselves and […]

November 09

SfN 2017 NeuWriter Picks!

You’ve probably heard about music festivals like Coachella, ACL and Bonnaroo: these are multi-day extravaganzas where thousands of individuals converge to sample from an elaborate menu of musical acts. As an attendee, you would likely be constantly shuffling back and forth across the festival grounds, trying to see as many of your favorite artists as […]

November 02

Fact or Fiction: False Memories from Replicants to Rituals

Mild spoilers for the film Blade Runner 2049 follow.   In Blade Runner’s world, it is the year 2049, and Earth looks substantially different than in 2017. Our fair city of San Diego is a literal garbage dump, crops are unable to grow outdoors, a single corporation dominates all agriculture and industry. The skies of […]

October 26

Engaged teaching and learning: Ready, set, action!

[En español] When I first signed up for formal training in best teaching practices from UCSD’s Center for Engaged Teaching, I thought I would learn good techniques for imparting knowledge to students. What I actually learned about was how to help students build their own knowledge, particularly through incorporating active learning in the classroom. Here […]

October 19

To sleep, perchance to roam

You jolt awake, sensing a presence in your room. Heart racing, you open your eyes and the figure comes into focus. Her glassy eyes seem to stare right through you. You sigh thinking, “not again,” and take your sleepwalking child back to bed.   In the middle of the night, I go walking in my […]

October 05

Science for All: Shifting Academic Communication at ComSciCon

“Whose advisor is unhappy that they’re here today?” asked Leanne Chukoskie, an assistant research scientist at the Institute for Neural Computation at UC San Diego and an affiliate of the Qualcomm Institute. Looking around at a sea of raised hands, she continued, “Know that the act of writing clearly for the public and preparing well […]

September 28

Dopamine is NOT your brain’s reward chemical

Dopamine is NOT your brain’s reward chemical.  Or rather, dopamine is not JUST your brain’s reward chemical, nor is it your brain’s ONLY reward chemical.

September 21

Scratch that itch

[En español] One of the greatest pleasures in life is to scratch an itch – in both the real and figurative sense. Although scratching an itch provides immediate (albeit temporary) relief, it may actually trigger the mechanism that makes us itch. So the more we scratch, the itchier we get, turning the short-lived pleasure into a […]

September 14

What’s the Deal with Migraines??!!

You’re sitting at your desk, hard at work, and suddenly you see a strange spot of bright light, outlined by a brilliant spectrum of reds and blues, hover over your computer screen. You blink and look around, trying to figure out whether the image is coming from the screen or from outside the window. You […]

September 07

It’s Like Uber, but for Neurologists

Automation is one of the engines of modernity, and what it should or could be is one of our society’s central discussions. However, when we discuss automation, it is never as a change that affects everyone in our community, but instead as one targeted at certain groups. Manufacturing workers on the assembly line have been […]