Author Archives: Catie Profaci

June 22

Psychopathy, qu’est-ce que c’est

Psychopathy, qu’est-ce que c’est A thought experiment Imagine that you are a respected scientist trying to better understand psychopathy.  What might be different in the brain of a psychopath?  As you look through brain scan after brain scan of psychopathic individuals—many of them convicted killers—you see a pattern.  In brain regions important for impulse control, […]

June 08

Apply now for ComSciCon at UCSD!

Applications for ComSciCon-SD close in one week (on June 15th)!  Apply today. A scientist and a non-scientist walk into a bar.  As the night proceeds, the non-scientist asks the scientist the oft-dreaded question: “So, what do you do?  What is your research about?”  What likely follows is a confused and confusing garble of jargon and […]

April 06

AN update: disease in a dish

While the phrase “stem cells” used to spark bitter controversy, scientists can now take a harmless skin biopsy from a human patient and transform those (skin) cells into a bunch of stem cells capable of becoming many different types of cells in the body, including brain cells.

March 02

Pain: Can’t live with it, can’t live without it

Imagine what life would be like with no pain.  No headaches or sore throats.  You would never experience the anguish of a papercut or a stubbed toe or a sprained ankle.  No stomach cramps or muscle soreness.  Childbirth or getting kicked in the balls?  Piece of cake.  Thrown from a moving car?  Don’t feel a […]

November 17

Brain and Blood, Diseases and Drugs

Neuroscientists love neurons.  We learn about the endless types of neurons, the distinct ways in which they send chemical signals, how they connect to each other, and how these networks underlie behavior.  Most of us eat, sleep, and breathe neurons.  A smaller, badass group of neuroscientists instead champions glia, the underappreciated cells in the brain […]

October 31

Work Alone (A Work from Home Parody)

The UCSD neuro grad program made another parody music video! Watch and share! If you’re coming to SD for SfN, join us Monday 11/14 at Parq

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.

June 30

Reflections on #SciComm Boot Camp

Communicate. It is part of the scientific process, and yet scientists are notoriously terrible at distilling their work into an understandable form.

June 02

Your Brain on Thirsty Thursday

Alcohol: loss of motor coordination, a sense of invincibility, amplified emotions, loss of inhibition, hazy memory, blackout. What kind of crazy things are happening in the brain?! How does alcohol even get into the brain?!

December 03

Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa. A disease for the privileged? Shallow white girls trying to look like fashion models? […] The stereotypes attached to anorexia add to the devastating reality of a serious brain disorder