How to Give Thanks Like a Neuroscientist

You’re on your way to the traditional Thanksgiving family get-together. You drive down a familiar street, locate your familiar house, and park in a familiar spot.… Read more

Mental Health is a Part of Health: A Conversation with Shekhar Saxena

In a recent presidential town hall, President Obama looked directly into the camera and made a powerful statement about mental health. “If something inside you feels like it’s wounded, it’s… Read more

What Loneliness Looks Like in the Brain

Consider three scenarios.  A kid joins a new high school and eats lunch by herself.  A recently separated man is alone for the New Year’s Eve countdown.  A prisoner becomes… Read more

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.… Read more

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.… Read more

Getting Technical: Methods in Neuroscience

It is an exciting time for neuroscience. The BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) is in the spotlight as a part of the new Presidential focus and recently… Read more

Oh, Rats! They’ll Regret This.

We often find ourselves in decision-making dilemmas along the day. For instance, to reach work on time, would you rather take the shorter, faster route or the longer, scenic route?… Read more

Decoding the Brain’s “Low Fuel” Signal

The human body is an efficient model to explore the popular theory of supply and demand.  When you physically exert yourself, your bioenergetic “supply” is down, so you feel hungrier… Read more

Fatal Attraction: The Cat-and-Mouse Story with a Twist

The beloved classic cartoon “Tom and Jerry” brings amusement and laughter to the young and old alike.  As the house cat Tom attempts to capture the mouse Jerry, we also… Read more

The Newest Cupid on the Block: Epigenetics

Genes are no different from individuals. Sometimes they behave in a simple, logical way. Other times, they are unpredictable and influenced by their surroundings. The central dogma (DNA to RNA… Read more

Claustrophobia Can Be Genetic

As a little girl, my favorite part of an overnight train journey in India was the tunnel. My restless, anxious eyes would await the moment when the train made its… Read more

Of Grandfathers, Fathers, and Children: The Coming-of-Age of Autism

Genetics, although ostensibly complicated, is all around us. In our immediate social circle, we often come across genetics at display. Some examples are obvious: The kids wear glasses because both… Read more

From Neurons to Astrocytes: The Shift of Focus in Stroke

If you think about it, blood vessels are the freeways of the body. The vast array of vasculature enables molecules to reach important destinations (organs) quickly. But, if a small… Read more

The Hunger Games of The Second Brain

If you’ve sensed “butterflies” in your stomach before a stage performance, felt your “stomach churn” upon hearing a horrifying story, or simply made a decision based on your “gut feeling,”… Read more

Not just skin deep: Neurons detect pleasurable touch

What separates us from our physical environment is our skin. From the minute we wake up, we use our somatosensation to start our tangible interaction with the world. Is the… Read more

Treating the diseased brain with artificial stimulation

We often fail to appreciate the small and precise functions of our motor system. How effortless and smooth our movements are when getting up from a chair! How quick and… Read more

"Feeling" music

The chorus of “Gangnam Style” makes us promptly break into a dance!  Adele’s “Someone Like You” brings tears to our eyes.  An electrifying rock concert brings shivers down our spines!… Read more

Solving the Alzheimer’s Puzzle: One Piece at a Time

Based on the recent statistics, one in eight individuals over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease, and for every 68 seconds that pass, yet another individual in the United… Read more