April 15

Why UC student researchers need a union

Right now, a group of graduate student researchers across the University of California are working to form a union.  What does this mean?  How is science made?  The process of becoming a full-time (“tenure-track”) neuroscientist or biologist at a university or other research institution involves a long training process.  Students must obtain an undergraduate degree […]

April 08

Choosing a Research Lab

For our readers in or about to begin PhD programs, I have put together the following advice for choosing and assessing research rotations. […] there are not necessarily “right” answers to all the questions below – just make sure the answers work for YOU. 

April 01

How do we use magnets to take pictures of the brain?

Magnets are everywhere – they exist in our electronics, cars, refrigerators, and so on. The Earth itself is one giant magnet, which is why we can use compasses to navigate! They also have many incredible biomedical applications, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which allows us to take pictures of biological tissues and organs in a […]

March 25

Singing in the Brain: Bird Neuroscience

Many of us have adopted new hobbies or interests in this strange quarantine world. For me, I’ve started to really appreciate birds. Birds and birdsong are almost omnipresent and for those of us living in more developed areas, they are oftentimes one of our only real reminders of and connections to the natural world. So, […]

March 18

Join Dennis Eckmeier on an expedition from neuroscience to science communication

Today I invite you to join me on an expedition with Dr. Dennis Eckmeier through the academic jungle to the realms of science communication. You will learn about the courtship calls of Chinese fire-bellied toads, a blowfly flight simulator, the vision of zebra finches (yes, finches, not fish!), and how the memory of smell might […]

March 11

The Future of the Neuroscience of Dreaming

What is the purpose of dreaming? What do the contents of your dreams mean? What is your brain doing during dreams to produce the sometimes surreal experiences that leave you confused upon waking? Why do we remember some parts of our dreams, but struggle to recall the events in others? The unsatisfying answer to these […]

March 04

The Bilingual Brain

Humans have the ability to learn multiple languages. Studying bilingual brains offers scientists an opportunity to analyze physical changes in the brain and alterations in how the brain works as a result of some behavior, known as structural and functional plasticity. I recently wrote an article where I discuss plasticity, the ability of our brain […]

February 18

Surprise!! A surprise birthday party is a “touchy” subject during a global pandemic

I open the door to my apartment and switch on the light, and  at first I cannot see anything, because I’m coming in from a dimly lit hallway. But I also don’t have to see anything, because all I hear is a loud “SURPRISE” synchronously shouted from at least 20 people. My heart jumps, my […]

February 11

More than a feeling…

As animals with brains, we are challenged to make sense of a world full of rich sensory experience.  There is a world created inside of our brains that we may see, hear, touch, taste, or smell.  Built out of our senses, humans possess an innate ability to extract patterns and other meaningful features from the […]

January 21

Ketamine and Psychedelics: Next-Wave Antidepressants

Ketamine and psychedelics are making headlines as new alternative antidepressant therapeutics. For years scientists have been studying the benefits of these drugs on the brain and exciting new research has led to the idea that our understanding of what underlies depression could be wrong and these next-wave antidepressants could be another remedy of one of […]