What's up in

neuroscience

Illustration for brain computer interface
Abstractions blog

Brains Cling to Old Habits When Learning New Tricks

March 27, 2018

Using a brain-computer interface, scientists are beginning to learn why learning is hard.

520px illustration for bioelectric signaling
developmental biology

Brainless Embryos Suggest Bioelectricity Guides Growth

March 13, 2018

Researchers are building a case that long before the nervous system works, the brain sends crucial bioelectric signals to guide the growth of embryonic tissues.

520px photo of lit neurons
Abstractions blog

With Strategic Zaps to the Brain, Scientists Boost Memory

February 6, 2018

Stimulating part of the cortex as needed during learning tasks improves later recall. The finding reveals more about the brain’s memory network and points toward possible therapies.

520px photo of Jarvis holding a zebra finch
Q&A

In Birds’ Songs, Brains and Genes, He Finds Clues to Speech

January 30, 2018

The neuroscientist Erich Jarvis found that songbirds’ vocal skills and humans’ spoken language are both rooted in neural pathways for controlling learned movements.

520px image of Ed Boyden
Q&A

A Neurobiologist Thinks Big — and Small

January 18, 2018

By developing new tools for visualizing subcellular structure and activity in molecular detail, Ed Boyden advances on his goal of understanding how the brain works.

Short term VS Long term memory illustration
neuroscience

Light-Triggered Genes Reveal the Hidden Workings of Memory

December 14, 2017

Nobel laureate Susumu Tonegawa’s lab is overturning old assumptions about how memories form, how recall works and whether lost memories might be restored from “silent engrams.”

Neuron drawings by Santiago Ramón y Cajal
Quantized Columns

Why the First Drawings of Neurons Were Defaced

September 28, 2017

Every exquisite drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the founder of modern neuroscience, is marred by a curious mark. Here is the little-known story behind it.

Neurons and astrocytes
Abstractions blog

The Oldest Mini-Brains Have Lifelike Young Cells

August 29, 2017

“Organoid” brain tissue models grown in a lab for two years can help scientists study a critical period of development just before and after birth.

cerebral organoid, or mini-brain
Abstractions blog

Mini-Brains Go Modular

August 9, 2017

To create a good living replica of the human brain, your best hope may be to let “organoid” components assemble it for you.