Figure 1: Immunohistochemistry stain of astrocytes (Oksanen, 2017, Stem Cell Reports). In the late 19th century, Santiago Ramón y Cajal aided in the formation of the neuron doctrine, a theory which used evidence from neuronal staining techniques to confirm that neurons are each separate entities and not one continuous fusion of cells. These separations allow … Continue reading Don’t forget about the stars in your brain!
Credit: Skeeze from Pixabay Scientists’ jobs depend upon answering thought-provoking questions, but as a consequence of working in niche research areas, the answers they discover often lack lasting impact on the wider scientific community. However, once in a while, a study will exceed the standard and provoke profound and universal ethical questions. Vrselja et al.’s … Continue reading Brainstorming a Way to Conquer Death
By: Jordan Gaines Lewis, 5th year student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program What is déjà vu? Many of us know the feeling. You'll be going about your day, minding your own business, folding some laundry...nothing out of the ordinary. Suddenly a sensation of familiarity washes over you, and you're completely aware that it's happening. I've been here … Continue reading What is Déjà Vu?
By: Caitlin Millett, 3rd year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program Humans are highly social creatures. Our brains have evolved to allow us to survive and thrive in complex social environments. Accordingly, the behaviors and emotions that help us navigate our social sphere are entrenched in networks of neurons within our brains. Social motivations, such as … Continue reading Humans are Wired for Prejudice, but That Doesn’t Have to be the End of the Story
By: Caitlin Millett, 3rd year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means it’s time for gift buying. With each passing season, finding the perfect gift for loved ones seems to become more and more difficult—a phenomenon not unrelated to the seemingly exponential growth in buying options each year. So … Continue reading How Fancy Labels Fool Us: The Neuroscience Behind Bias
By: Amanda White, Research Technologist in the Department of Psychiatry Autumn has arrived, bringing with it some of my favorite scents: bonfire smoke, pumpkin spice (DON’T JUDGE!), and, most of all, crisp autumn air. Stepping outside on an October morning and breathing instantly transports me back in time. I’m at Penn State. It’s a cool, … Continue reading Smells Ring Bells: How Smells Can Trigger Emotions and Memories
By: Andrew Huhn, 4th year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program America loves football. Brutal, high-flying, smash-mouth football. The players seem like gladiators from another era. Chiseled out of stone, they feel no pain as they run, jump, and catch with a grace that appears super-human. The reality is, however, that they do feel pain—and often … Continue reading NFL Players Sue over Painkillers—Because They’re Addicted
By: Daniel Hass, 2nd year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been a major funding source for the development of unique and innovative technologies under its motto of “driving technological surprise.” Some of DARPA’s current projects include designing bullets that can adjust their course in-flight, novel techniques to … Continue reading A Prosthesis to Fix Broken Memories
By: Jordan Gaines Lewis, 3rd year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Program During my first year at Penn State College of Medicine, I participated in an MRI research study. I laid in an MRI machine for 45 minutes and looked at pictures of chocolate while smelling chocolate odors. Tough life, right? (Hershey really is the sweetest place … Continue reading What’s it like to get an MRI?
By: Lina Jamis, 1st year student in the Anatomy Graduate Program People love stories—we build social networks around them, we recount them to our friends and families at the end of our day, we whisper them in the dark to our children before they sleep. Stories are all around us, even in the most unlikely of … Continue reading Your Brain on Fiction