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With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Neural Stem Cells
Brain Basics / Brain Development / Did You Know? / SfN 2014

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Neural Stem Cells

Stem cells have two characteristic and essential properties: Self-renewal. They can divide to give rise to another stem cell. Potency. They are capable of differentiating into specialized cells. Totipotent cells are stem cells that are capable of differentiating into all cell types in the entire organism. Pluripotent cells are descendant of totipotent cells, and are … Continue reading

Smooth Move: How GABAergic Interneurons Regulate Skilled Motor Behavior
Movement / Neuro News / SfN 2014

Smooth Move: How GABAergic Interneurons Regulate Skilled Motor Behavior

In early 2014, the American free-solo rock climber Alex Honnold climbed 2,500 feet of limestone without ropes.  The demanding route called El Sendero Luminoso in El Potrero Chico, Mexico required 3 hours of intense concentration and precise movements. One wrong move and the young climber would have fallen thousands of feet with catastrophic consequences. In … Continue reading

What Zebrafish Teach Us About Touch
Movement / Neuro News / Sensation and Perception / SfN 2014

What Zebrafish Teach Us About Touch

Unlike the sense of vision, which is perceived only by light-sensitive photoreceptors in our eyes, the mechanoreceptors that respond to light touch are located in sensory neurons all over the body.  Our sense of touch starts in the skin, where sensory neurons with elaborate dendrites just below the skin’s surface provide dense coverage over the … Continue reading

Science with a Touch of Art: A Conversation with David Ginty
Did You Know? / Sensation and Perception / SfN 2014

Science with a Touch of Art: A Conversation with David Ginty

If you think about it, the surface of the human body, the skin, is actually one huge sheet of tactile receptors. The dozens of types of receptors that innervate the skin help us connect with our surroundings. But the properties of these neurons – how they are organized in the skin, where the project into … Continue reading

Science Fiction, Serendipity and Interneuron Specification: A Conversation with Dr. Gordon J. Fishell
Brain Basics / Brain Development / SfN 2014

Science Fiction, Serendipity and Interneuron Specification: A Conversation with Dr. Gordon J. Fishell

It is easy to assume that if a car has a gas pedal, it needs to have brakes, and similarly, if our brain has excitatory neurons, it needs inhibition too. For a long time, the field of neuroscience had thought of inhibitory interneurons as the “brakes” of the brain, providing suppression to neuronal activity. However, … Continue reading