Author Archives: UCSDNeuro

May 17

Stop, You’re Making Me Blush

I want to take you back to the most embarrassing moment of your life. Come on, you know what that was. For some people it was giving a presentation in front of a large audience. For some it involved saying or doing something really stupid, perhaps in front of someone you were attracted to; it […]

March 28

Genetically programmed, but with options

This is a guest post by Adam Calhoun (@neuroecology), a very talented science writer and fellow member of UCSD Neurosciences.  Australia has been having a problem with discarded beer bottles. It turns out that the Australian Jewel Beetle finds these bottles so attractive that they will mate with them until they die from dehydration. The bottles, […]

October 28

Let’s Talk About LGBTQ Visibility in Science, Baby

In both social and scientific spheres, Dr. Ben Barres has consistently been an advocate for the little guy. He is openly transgender, and has encouraged open discussion on topics such as the marginalization of women in science. In addition, his research focuses on glia, which could also be considered as the marginalized cells within neuroscience […]

October 20

Molecular routes of memory enhancement

Most students are no strangers to cognitive enhancers such as caffeine or Adderall. However, these and other cognitive enhancers tend to have non-specific effects on the nervous system (e.g., jitteriness), or are specifically formulated for a disease or disorder1. Drugs or treatments that specifically target some aspect of a cognitive behavior are lacking, and require […]

May 25

Fly Eyes!

Imagine what it would feel like to be a fly, with most of your head covered in eyes, allowing you to see in pretty much any direction. That’s exactly what Axel Borst studies: motion vision in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), one of the most widely studied species of fly. The behavioral model that has […]

May 12

Wiring Eyes

We can probably all agree that eyes would just be useless bags of vitreous humor if not for their wiring to the brain.  It’s the highly precise connections between specialized cell types within the eye and their specific target cells within the brain that allow us to visually experience our world.  But how do these […]

May 06

Dissecting circuits: Bridging the gap from circuits to behavior

Chalasani S.H., Chronis N., Tsunozaki M., Gray J.M., Ramot D., Goodman M.B. & Bargmann C.I. (2007). Dissecting a circuit for olfactory behaviour in Caenorhabditis elegans, Nature, 450 (7166) 63-70. DOI: 10.1038/nature06292

April 29

Functional Compartmentalization and Viewpoint Generalization Within the Macaque Face-Processing System

One thing humans, and in fact all primates can do with remarkable ease compared to computers is face recognition, especially across a range of viewing conditions.  At her lab at Caltech, Doris Tsao tries to explore the way the brain does this.  In her recent Science paper, she explored view invariance in the recently discovered […]

April 15

Vision is complex: Predicting responses despite non-linearity and heterogeneity

What does it mean to understand vision?  Can we know how the retina will react when we see our favorite painting or our best friend before it even happens?  The work of Dr. Fred Rieke hopes to do just that.  Not unsurprisingly, vision is complex and studying it is hard.  The output neurons of the […]

March 30

Arthropods: More than just a pretty face, they have brains that can preserve for over half a billion years

Behold the Arthropods. They are invertebrates with exoskeletons, segmented bodies and jointed appendages (examples: insects, arachnids, crustaceans). Exquisitely versatile and adaptable, they comprise the most species-rich phylum and they’ve been around since at least the early Cambrian Period (541-485.4 million years ago, (Mya)). Look where you’re standing. Chances are that an athropod’s already been there […]