Posts Tagged ‘biochemistry’


“2013’s Nobel Prize Winners” — Podcast 11: James Rothman, Randy Schekman & Thomas Südhof

On Episode 11 of The Connectome Podcast, I’m joined by all three of 2013’s Nobel Prize winners in the Physiology/Medicine category — James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Südhof! All three of these guys contributed crucial pieces to a longstanding puzzle: How, exactly, do our brain cells communicate with each other? See, biologists had known […]


The Search for a Nobel Prize-Winning Synapse Machine

In this article for Scientific American, I talk with all three winners of 2013’s Nobel prize in physiology or medicine, about the paths that led them to victory. Where did their scientific careers start? Did they have any idea they’d be working in this area of research, let alone discover something as profound as they […]


Tomorrow’s Anti-Anxiety Drug Is… Tylenol?

In this article for Scientific American, I talk about a new study that may have found an unusual use for a popular pain drug. Could Tylenol – also known by the drug name acetaminophen – really be the anti-anxiety drug of the future? If so, how would that work? Why would it work? And are […]


Deciphering Sleep: Our Interview with David Rye

Why do we need to sleep? In all of human biology, few questions are more persistent – or more mythologized – than this one. Almost as puzzling as sleep itself are sleep disorders like narcolepsy and insomnia, which make us wonder why some of us need so much more sleep than others do. David Rye, […]


The Listeners from Below

Deep within your brain, they are listening. In still silence, they await signals from afar – dim echoes of distant calls. And when they hear what they’ve been waiting for… they will awaken. They are known as neural stem cells – and not only are they real; researchers have just made some major discoveries about […]


What Your Neural Stem Cells Aren’t Telling You

In this article for Scientific American, I explore a new study that found how “leaky” communication between nerve cells can actually be a good thing. In fact, these signal leaks seem to be crucial for triggering new brain cells to form. Plus, leaky connections like these seem to enable neuroglia – the brain’s mysterious “quiet cells,” which support and influence […]


Aliens in the Lab

Researchers are creating new lifeforms that are chemically unrelated to any other life on earth. In fact, for the first time ever, scientists in Japan have built an artificial synapse, from the molecules up. What?! How can this be? Read on, intrepid voyager of the unknown, and discover for yourself. The basic idea is that […]


Prometheus Unbound

What would you do if you could feel any way you wanted, at will? I’m not just talking about mind-hacks for calming yourself down or getting motivated. I mean, what if you could become drunk, instantly, just by deciding to – and then completely sober up at a moment’s notice? What if tripping on mescaline […]

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3 Popular Neuroscience Ideas…That Aren’t Really True

Like science? Sure – we all do. And you like to stay informed about it – but it’s not like you’re going to set aside hours of your time for studying scholarly journals, when you could be…eating ham, or whatever it is you enjoy doing. And who could blame you? Science journals don’t have that […]

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Reward Lasers

Our ability to feel pleasure in rewarding situations depends on a delicate balance of two specific types of brain circuits, a new study reports. By using targeted lasers to activate specific cells in a mouse brain, researchers can disrupt and reactivate small sections of that brain’s reward pathway, causing mice to drastically change their behavior. […]

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