Weird Animal Brain: Octopus

The octopus almost reaches alien status when it comes to its brain and nervous system.  And yet, the differences can help us understand more about the human brain as well as unique solutions nature has come up with for difficult problems like camouflage.  Octopuses can see polarized light, but cannot see color.  However, their skin changes both color and texture to camouflage with the surroundings.Continue reading

Weird Animal Brain: Manta Ray

Last month, on the big island of Hawaii, I swam with giant, beautiful aliens.  Or at least that’s what it felt like.  I went night snorkeling with manta rays and had the privilege of seeing 10 or 11 graceful behemoths.  Some had a wingspan of over 10 feet long.  Before our group got in the water, to prepare us for what we were about to see, our guide reassured us that manta rays are like sharks, but only the good parts, none of the scary parts.  They don’t have teeth, they only eat plankton, and they have no stinger like their sting ray counterparts.Continue reading

CRISPR-Cas9 Knowing Neurons

CRISPR-Cas9: Targeted Genome Editing

CRISPR_Updated_FINAL_size

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Infographic by Jooyeun Lee and Kate Fehlhaber.

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References:

Hsu P. & Feng Zhang (2014). Development and Applications of CRISPR-Cas9 for Genome Engineering, Cell, 157 (6) 1262-1278. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2014.05.010

Fineran P.C. (2014). Gene regulation by engineered CRISPR-Cas systems, Current Opinion in Microbiology, 18 83-89. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mib.2014.02.007

Doudna J.A. (2014). The new frontier of genome engineering with CRISPR-Cas9, Science, 346 (6213) 1258096-1258096. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1258096

Get Ready for #SfN14 with #KnowingNeurons

This is an exciting time for neuroscience!  The Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine was just awarded to three neuroscientists “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.”  John O’Keefe is best known for his work on place cells in the hippocampus, and May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser study grid cells in the entorhinal cortex.  Together, these cells provide an internal map of the external environment.  In a way, they act as a GPS in the brain that can even navigate our 3D world!Continue reading

EyeWire via Knowing Neurons

EyeWire: A Game To Map The Brain

Solving the mysteries of the connectome may require something more powerful than a supercomputer.  The makers of EyeWire think that it’s you who can help map the brain!  This game was invented in Sebastian Seung’s Computational Neuroscience Lab at MIT and now has over 70,000 players from over 130 countries!  The best part is that the game doesn’t require a scientific background, so anyone can play!  Join the EyeWire community and be a part of neuroscience discovery!Continue reading

Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2013 by Knowing Neurons

The Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2013

This is BIG week for neuroscience!

Each year more than 30,000 neuroscientists from more than 80 countries come together in the largest scientific meeting in the world!  At the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) annual meeting, neuroscientists present their newest scientific discoveries about the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system.  More than 15,500 presentations are given, ranging in topic from molecules to human behavior.  Over 500 exhibitors share new tools and cutting edge technologies at this largest neuroscience marketplace in the world.  In this exciting environment, you can learn from experts, collaborate with peers, and explore all things neuroscience!Continue reading