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, […]

December 12

GOP tax bill would cripple biomedical science and higher education

Graduate students have it pretty rough. But we knew what we were getting into — being underpaid for several years in the hopes of contributing to an important scientific discovery and eventually getting that PhD. What we didn’t know was that Congress would draft legislation to make our lives even harder. The version of the […]

December 07

Ancient Aliens Among Us

  First contact. The prospect of intelligent extraterrestrial life has tantalized us Earthbound humans throughout our history. In relatively recent times, artists such as H.G. Wells, Ursula Le Guin, and Gene Roddenberry have created wide-eyed fantasies full of violent invasions, fraught coexistence, and delicate peace between humanity and the Other. As early as the second […]

November 30

CRISPR and the Real World

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” So begins our country’s Declaration of Independence. While we have learned that this preamble is all too simple in the context of wider society, consider the most basic interpretation of this sentiment; at the precise moment of a child’s birth, broader circumstances […]

November 23

Science and S’mores: SciCommCamp 2017

SciCommCamp can be best described as a not-so-average conference for a diverse group of fabulously nerdy science communicators with a common goal: to make science publicly accessible. I left SciCommCamp with pep in my step and a bit more confidence in my planned post-graduate school transition out of academia and into a career in science […]