Author Archives: megkirch

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 […]

August 24

Paint me like one of your mantis shrimps

Sunsets, wildflower superblooms, unicorn frappuccinos. None of these phenomena would have nearly the same allure if we lost our ability to see different colors. But what if we could have an even greater ability to discriminate between colors – would these phenomena be that much more spectacular? In the case of the frappuccino, probably not, […]

April 27

Half Asleep

Sleep, though one of my greatest joys in life, is frustratingly unproductive. As much as I love to curl up in bed, close my eyes and flip the off-switch on my consciousness, the realization that I spend 24-33% of my day just staring at the backs of my eyelids is exasperating. Imagine the possibilities if […]

February 24

“Work Alone” Nominated for a Lab Grammy!

The UCSD Neurosciences Graduate Program’s parody music video has been nominated for a “Lab Grammy”!!! Please vote for us here!!! Once again, a massive thanks to Micah and Alie Caldwell for their incredible editing skills and for making this happen!   Vote, vote, vote! Let’s win this!!!!!

February 09

What I learned as a ‘brain tourist’ in Japan

This article was simultaneously posted on Neurographic: https://medium.com/neurographic/what-i-learned-as-a-brain-tourist-in-japan I never would have guessed that studying the brain would take me to such interesting places. When I signed up for graduate school, I assumed that I was resigning myself to staying in the same place and doing more or less the same thing for five to six […]

December 22

Naked and Unafraid

En español Ugliest animal in the world. 2013’s “Vertebrate of the Year”. Co-star of Disney Channel’s Kim Possible. These are just a few of the naked mole rat’s most notable distinctions. However, the extent of their peculiarity and alienness is, if you would believe it, enormously under-appreciated. The more they learn, scientists across the fields […]

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 […]

July 07

Just Keep Remembering (and Forgetting)

[En español] “I suffer from short-term memory loss. It runs in my family… At least I think it does… hm. Where are they?” Thirteen years ago, a little blue fish with a memory problem became one of the most lovable animated characters of all time. In Finding Nemo, Dory (voiced by Ellen Degeneres) constantly forgets […]

April 07

The Changing Face of Autism

[En español] Spectrum. This word could refer to electromagnetism, the colors of the rainbow, or any number of things that fall on a scale between two points. However, when I see or hear the word “spectrum”, the first things that come to my mind are the faces of people I know who struggle with social […]

December 10

A Toast to Optogenetics

[En español] “This seems rather far-fetched but it is conceivable that molecular biologists could engineer a particular cell type to be sensitive to light.” These words, published in 1999 by Francis Crick [1] (co-discoverer of the DNA double helix structure and a neuroscientist later in life) were incredibly prophetic. It did seem far-fetched, and yet, a […]