Author Archives: megkirch

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 […]

September 17

Singing in the [B]rain

Music has always wielded a disconcerting power over me. In times of overwhelming emotions, listening to a sad song or playing Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat on the piano has propelled me into cathartic fits of sobbing. Songs with escalating intensity and complexity (such as San Fermin’s Parasites) have made me feel as if a wave […]

July 02

Turning the Brain ‘Inside Out’

[En español] Who would’ve thought that a film that takes place inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley and uses her personified emotions as the main protagonists would break the box office record for original movies and be such a worldwide sensation? From the moment I first heard about Inside Out, my own […]

May 28

Ben Barres: On Science and Sexism

Every May, the UCSD Neurosciences Graduate Program gathers students and faculty at a conference center on beautiful Lake Arrowhead for a weekend retreat of science and socialization. This spring, our keynote research speaker was Dr. Ben Barres of Stanford University. After a successful first day, a roomful of neuroscientists eagerly awaited Dr. Ben Barres’ keynote […]

February 13

The Neuroscience of the Spotless Mind

Although there are undoubtedly even more Valentine’s Day-themed films than there are Shades of Grey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stands a cut above the rest. I say this not only as a movie-enthusiast but also as a neuroscience-enthusiast. This film may not be overtly about neuroscience, but it touches on questions and themes that are […]