Category Archives: genetics

August 22

Is evolution the missing link to understanding mental health?

The human brain has been shaped over hundreds of thousands of years, with evolution selecting for traits that helped our species survive and thrive. So why do we still have so many genes that make us struggle? Why did our remarkable cognitive capacity come with such a susceptibility to disorder?

May 09

Uncle Syd and His Worms

[En español] Anybody, who does biological research using a model organism, especially those using an invertebrate, has quite invariably come across a certain prevalent hotchpotch of disbelief, cynicism and a reasonably uncomfortable amount of derision in the minds of their peers about the tiny creatures that they use to study biology.  “So, these flies really […]

April 25

Immune to pain: new insights into chronic pain treatment

[En español] Jo Cameron, a Scottish woman in her mid-60s, was seemingly happy and healthy other than a problem with her hip. Now and then, it would give way and prevent her from walking straight. She had brought it up to her doctor, but because she wasn’t in pain, the issue was dismissed. It wasn’t […]

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 […]

August 02

Snake Eyes: The Fear That Built Your Brain

Indiana Jones is a quintessential American hero, his fedora, satchel, and whip instantly recognizable around the world. He lives a double life, a scholarly professor of anthropology in public and a globetrotting treasure hunter in private. He defeats the Nazis and always gets the girl, displaying daring and fearlessness, with one notable exception. He has […]

July 26

A Neuroscience Perspective on the Lifelong Consequences of Detaining Kids at the Border

[En español] If you’ve been even partially tuned in to the news over the last few months, you’ve heard about the gut-wrenching separation of children from their parents at the United States border and the detainment centers where these children have been held. You may have seen pictures of young kids in cages, been watching when […]

May 31

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Genetic Memory

We are all products of our past, for better or for worse. At first glance, such a statement seems so obvious it hardly bears mentioning; our earlier experiences, both our successes and our failures, shape our current behavior.  But dig just a bit deeper, and it becomes far murkier. What can you call your past? […]

May 10

A Bright Idea: Illuminating the Brain with GCaMP

You might’ve read stories about some brain region “lighting up” in response to some stimulus. But what does “lighting up” actually mean? Oftentimes it refers to scientists using a fMRI machine that applies sophisticated technology to translate changes in blood flow into pixels on a computer screen. Sometimes though the brain can literally light up, […]

March 03

Battling A Brain Tumor The Loki Way

Recently a friend of mine took on the duty of bringing me up to speed on the Marvel cinematic universe. When we got around to watching the first installment in the Thor series, I was expecting more levelheadedness on the part of Thor, the soon-to-be crowned king of Asgard. Shortly after the opening sequence however, […]

February 01

A Recipe for the Brain

How confident would you be in making a Victorian Tennis Cake, given a set of ingredients and the recipe? What about with a vague list of instructions instead of a detailed recipe? If you’ve ever watched The Great British Baking Show, this concept is familiar to you as the “technical challenge”. Britain’s best amateur bakers […]