Author Archives: UCSDNeuro

Launching our new “Spikes in the Classroom” outreach module

We are incredibly excited to announce the addition of a new module to our outreach efforts. When we go into a classroom, we bring plenty of dead brains… rare jarred brains of porpoises and penguins for our “Comparative Anatomy” module and squishy sheep’s brains that students get to touch and hold and inspect (always with […]

Primate Visual Space: The Entorhinal Frontier

Throughout the course of human history, great metaphorical emphasis has been placed on developing an understanding of our “place in the world.”  Although this proverbial construct refers more to a sense of self-efficacy, it underscores the inarguable importance of determining our position as it relates to the environment around us in producing proper behavior.  Research into the neural mechanisms […]

A brave foray into the daunting complexity of the human cortex

Understanding the organization of human cortex has proven to be more difficult than examining that of other animals. For instance, we are more limited in the methods we can use to investigate human cortical networks. Brodmann attempted to classify and name human cerebral cortex by studying the cytoarchitecture of post-mortem brains; his legacy was a […]

Remembering Value: How primates can keep track of the values of many items over the long term

We humans would often prefer not to spend hours deliberating over simple choices, such as what to eat for breakfast or what show to watch in the evening. Neither do we often make choices in food or activity by random guessing. Instead, we typically tend to order food from a restaurant based on what we […]

Decision making and degree of confidence – How confident are you about your choices?

We are making decisions based on our sensation in our daily life. When playing football you may want to throw a ball to the place where fewer opposing players are running. However, sometimes you have to make decisions without full confidence, for example when you can only glance at a group of players running around […]

Retinal Direction Selectivity… Reversed!!!

In a recent paper, “Visual Stimulation Reverses the Directional Preference of Direction-Selective Retinal Ganglion Cells” (2012), the lab of Dr. Marla Feller demonstrated direction reversal of a subgroup of  Direction Selective Ganglion Cells in the mouse retina.  The finding is contrary to the predominant dogma that direction selectivity is endowed by circuity that is hard-wired.  […]

Hungry? Why wait?* Intermittent fasting improves functional recovery after spinal cord injury.

Spinal cord injury (SCI), while typically anatomically incomplete, often results in the dramatic loss of sensory and motor function with limited recovery. Dr. Wolfram Tetzlaff, the Associate Director of the International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries (ICORD) and professor in the Departments of Zoology and Surgery at the University of British Columbia, investigated the efficacy of […]

We are all connected: Major insights are emerging from human connectomes

David Van Essen is from Washington University where he is an Edison Professor of Neurobiology and Department Head of Anatomy and Neurobiology.  He is also a principle investigator of the Human Connectome Project (HCP), a project designed to map the human connectome as accurately as possible in a large number of normal adults and make […]

It’s too hot, get me out of here!

The ability to achieve homeostasis in the face of varying environmental conditions is vitally important to the survival of an organism. A critical aspect of homeostasis is maintaining a temperature suitable for cellular processes. Using the model C. elegans, the Sengupta lab examined the neural circuits underlying their major thermoregulation strategy, negative thermotaxis (moving away […]

Gene Networks Regulating Cortical Neuron Fate

The generation of neuronal diversity ultimately determines the architecture and complexity of the brain. Birthdate and place are key factors contributing to the fate of a neuron, however those two factors alone are not sufficient to predict exactly how neurons differentiate with markedly different projections, connectivity, morphology, electrophysiology, and genetic expressions. In some instances during […]