What it Takes to Make a Brain: Cellular diversity in cortical development

by Olubusola Olukoyafigures by Corena Loeb Our ability to take in information from the world around us, make inferences, and execute appropriate reactions is generated by our brains. The brain, which weighs about 1.5 kilograms in the average adult, takes up 20% of our body’s energy expenditure to power a network of roughly 86 billion cells. Ongoing research in the field of neuroscience utilizes various … Continue reading What it Takes to Make a Brain: Cellular diversity in cortical development

Dissecting cancer complexity across space and time

by Jackson Weirfigures by Jasmin Joseph-Chazan Why is cancer so difficult to cure? Why do available treatments only help a subset of patients? Why are some cancers more aggressive than others? These are questions that clinicians, scientists, and the public have pondered for generations. As it turns out, the answers are complicated because cancer biology is complicated. Luckily, new tools and technologies are helping us … Continue reading Dissecting cancer complexity across space and time

How do motor behaviors get better with practice?

by Cheshta Bhatiafigures by Jasmin Joseph-Chazan Ubiquitous actions that we perform in our daily lives, like tying our shoelaces or playing basketball, rely on our brain’s ability to learn and execute motor skills; this ability to knit movements into a series of actions enables us to walk, dance, or play the piano. However, have you ever wondered why we can improve at these tasks with … Continue reading How do motor behaviors get better with practice?

Home Decor and the Hippocampus: How environmental enrichment can enhance brain function  

by Ariel Hairstonfigures by MacKenzie Mauger Our lives are stuffed with opportunities for excitement and stimulation. You might wake up in the morning and find yourself staring at your modest collection of succulents, or that small oil painting you bought at a flea market. The first moments of your day might be spent taking a walk around the block, the smell of tree bark hanging … Continue reading Home Decor and the Hippocampus: How environmental enrichment can enhance brain function  

Exercise in a bottle? How transferable exercise factors may promote brain health

by Ryan Camirefigures by Shreya Mantri Many of us exercise and push ourselves to new limits without a specific goal; we lace up our sneakers and don our neon running shorts for the purest of intentions – to ‘stay healthy’. But what exactly does this mean? Most of us think only of the physical benefits reaped by our hardworking muscles. Exercise can help improve heart … Continue reading Exercise in a bottle? How transferable exercise factors may promote brain health

Sensitization: Why everything might hurt when it looks like nothing is wrong

by Beatrice Awasthifigures by Allie Elchert Millions of Americans struggle with chronic pain. While the pain sometimes has a clear source—for instance, an arthritic joint or a damaged tendon—oftentimes, people feel pain without any obvious signs of damage at all. This can be extremely distressing, as such patients may deal with stigmatization or invalidation of their pain by others who suggest that the pain is … Continue reading Sensitization: Why everything might hurt when it looks like nothing is wrong

Life as We Know Itch: How our body creates this irritating sensation 

by Garrett Dunlapfigures by Xiaomeng Han What do a homemade sweater, a new laundry detergent, and a mosquito all have in common? All of these things have the potential to cause the uncomfortable, and sometimes maddening, sensation of itch. In fact, itching can be the result of many different things, including allergies, insect bites, illness, medication, and dry skin. But what exactly is an itch, … Continue reading Life as We Know Itch: How our body creates this irritating sensation 

Microglia: The protectors of the brain

by Muhammet M. Ozturkfigures by Wei Wu For decades, scientists have been intrigued by how the brain controls the body. This curiosity led them to discover neurons, the brain’s messenger cells. Neurons, which receive, transmit, and process information, are arguably the most famous cells in our brain. The attention they get might suggest that the brain is only made up of neurons. However, about half … Continue reading Microglia: The protectors of the brain

Racism, Toxic Stress, and Education Policy

by Valentina Lagomarsinofigures by Olivia K. Foster Rhoades Brain development takes a long time. In fact, the human brain isn’t considered fully developed until after 25 years of life! To ultimately develop a healthy brain architecture, the foundation has to be sturdy. Scientists have found that events that happen during childhood are the most indicative of how one’s brain develops. There are many childhood events … Continue reading Racism, Toxic Stress, and Education Policy