Category Archives: History

July 06

A nerve-racking issue

[En español] In 1936, a scientist named Gerhard Schrader was hired by the German government to end a bothersome and destructive beetle pest that was devastating German farms. Mixing different molecules (because that’s what we scientists do) he came across the recipe for the deadly nerve agent tabun. Even though his purpose was to create […]

May 05

Phrenology: An Infographic

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 […]

March 03

Science Should Have No Gender

[En Español] I intended this article just to highlight the contributions of women to biomedical science (and science in general) to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. But, the further I was in my reading and writing, the more evidence I was finding about how women have been (and still are) quite sadly disregarded […]

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 […]

November 26

PCR (Pilgrims and Cranberry Relish)

[En Español] A Thanksgiving tale about DNA amplification There are many things for which I am thankful, and I’m sure for many of us these reasons for gratitude are similar—family, friends, good health all come to mind.  But there are so many other things that make our daily lives easier and more manageable. Just to […]

November 05

In the beginning: the founding of the Society for Claustrum Research

As the legend goes, in the 1960s a group of researchers across a multitude of disciplines recognized the emergence of a new field of science. New advances and techniques were allowing investigators to at long last peer inside the black box of the mind: the brain. Disgruntled at being labeled as no different from psychologists […]

October 01

The Final Scientific Endeavor of Mary Putnam Jacobi

On June 10th, 1906, American physician Mary Putnam Jacobi died of a brain tumor. Her death, similar to her life, was not without careful contemplation. Dr. Jacobi detailed her own demise in an account, titled “Descriptions of the Early Symptoms of the Meningeal Tumor Compressing the Cerebellum. From Which the Writer Died. Written by Herself.” […]

April 30

Birds, Brains, and Boats: The Harvey Karten Story

“So, what can I do for you?” To be honest, it wasn’t how I expected to find Dr. Harvey J. Karten, neuroscience Professor Emeritus and recent inductee to the National Academy of the Sciences. But when I open the door his office on a bright San Diego afternoon, he is sitting in front of three monitors, hard at […]

December 12

A (Not So) Brief History of Psychedelic Science

Psychedelics* (i.e. chemicals that reliably produce altered states of consciousness characterized by sensory distortion and changes in cognition) have been subject to human ritualistic, therapeutic, and recreational use for millennia.  Their profound perceptual effects have the potential to elucidate countless mysteries of human neurobiology, illuminating the sensitivity of our conscious experience to stereotyped, chemically-induced changes. […]