Author Archives: megkirch

August 08

Sharing the Stories of Women in Neuroscience

One year ago, Dr. Nancy Padilla was reviewing a list of speaker names for a seminar series organized by postdoctoral fellows in her department. She saw nothing wrong with the list as it was full of prominent and excellent neuroscientists – that is, until her colleague pointed out that the list did not include a […]

July 25

In a world of “blind imagination”: The science of Aphantasia

[En Español] Picture yourself in your childhood home. Imagine your bedroom – your bed, perhaps some posters on the wall, and whatever other salient features you can conjure with your mind’s eye.  Do you see yourself in it, or are you seeing it as though through your own eyes…or do you not “see” anything at […]

April 04

Looking beyond biology: Autism in the workforce

“So, what’s the difference between the mind and the brain?” I blinked, bewildered. Most of the time when I try to explain my research to non-neuroscientists (“I study how different types of neurons in the brain process visual information…”), I get polite nods and the occasional follow-up question about why that might be a useful […]

March 07

The “miracle” of eye movements: EMDR and PTSD

“Hold that image in your mind,” I say, “and follow my finger”. I proceed to wave my finger in front of your face, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth… Believe it or not, I’m not performing hypnosis in this hypothetical scenario. Instead, I’m describing one of the most successful behavioral treatments for […]

December 20

A Pirate’s Life is NOT for Me: A Deep Dive into Motion Sickness

A few months ago, I spent three and a half anxious hours on a rickety motorboat on western Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika. The cause of my anxiety was not the fact that we were floating over the second deepest freshwater lake in the world in a boat that had already begun to take in some water […]

September 20

Glioblastoma: John McCain’s final battle

On August 25th, I received a news notification on my phone that Arizona Senator John McCain had passed away, just one day after halting treatment for glioblastoma and little more than one year after diagnosis. I was taken aback. I’d known this was coming, but not that it would happen so quickly. Moreover, the sorrow […]

May 24

Baby I Swear it’s Déjà Vu

It’s one of the most bizarre sensations in the world: feeling like you’ve entered some sort of time loop and are re-experiencing something that’s already happened before. The rational part of you knows that this is a new experience, and yet, you can’t shake the feeling that you’re somehow reliving a brief moment of your […]

March 22

“Find My Friends”, Brain edition

Have you ever felt hyper-aware of where another person is, almost like you’ve got some internal GPS that’s automatically tracking their location? Perhaps you’ve felt this way (however creepily) when you’ve had a major crush on someone, to the point that you’re exceptionally tuned in to where that person is in a room at any […]

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? […]

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 […]