Category Archives: Seminar Series

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 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 07

Wave makers: The origins of corticothalamic slow oscillations

It might come as a surprise that while you’re asleep or at rest your neurons do not enjoy a similar period of tranquil inactivity, but instead remain hard at work. In fact, previous studies report that coordinated waves of slow oscillatory activity (< 1 Hz) spread through the cortex and thalamus during sleep, waking rest […]

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 […]

Carla Shatz: An Inspiration for Women in Neuroscience

Dr. Carla Shatz is a woman of many firsts. She began her career in neuroscience as the first undergraduate student of Drs. David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel of Harvard Medical School (yes, that Hubel and Wiesel who won the Nobel Prize for their work on the visual system in 1981).  After graduating from Radcliffe College […]

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 […]

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 […]