Posts Tagged ‘neuroscience’

How well do you know your neuroscience?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-30-2013

So you think you know neuroscience? How many names do you recognize in this video?

DNA Methylation is Key to Brain Development

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-04-2013

Changes in the epigenome, including chemical modifications of DNA, can act as an extra layer of information in the genome, and are thought to play a role in learning and memory, as well as in age-related cognitive decline. The results of a new study by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies show that the landscape of DNA methylation, a particular type of epigenomic modification, is highly dynamic in brain cells during the transition from birth to adulthood, helping to understand how information in the genomes of cells in the brain is controlled from fetal development to adulthood. The brain is much more complex than all other organs in the body and this discovery opens the door to a deeper understanding of how the intricate patterns of connectivity in the brain are formed.

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Rethinking the brain’s circuitry

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-01-2013

A series of studies conducted by Randy Bruno, PhD, and Christine Constantinople, PhD, of Columbia University’s Department of Neuroscience, topples convention by showing that sensory information travels to two places at once: not only to the brain’s mid-layer (where most axons lead), but also directly to its deeper layers. The study appears in the June 28, 2013, edition of the journal Science.

A) Since the 1950s, the cortex has been thought to be a collection of modules, or “columns,” the layers of which sequentially process information before handing it off to another column. (B) This study shows that sensory signals are instead copied to two targets (L4 and L5B) and that the upper and lower halves of the cortex are independent. The “top brain” and “bottom brain,” which contain different types of cells, are able to influence behavior via completely different neural pathways. (Credit: Image credit: Christine Constantinople, PhD/Randy Bruno, PhD/Columbia University Medical Center)

For decades, scientists have thought that sensory information is relayed from the skin, eyes, and ears to the thalamus and then processed in the six-layered cerebral cortex in serial fashion: first in the middle layer (layer 4), then in the upper layers (2 and 3), and finally in the deeper layers (5 and 6.) This model of signals moving through a layered “column” was largely based on anatomy, following the direction of axons—the wires of the nervous system.

“Our findings challenge dogma,” said Dr. Bruno, assistant professor of neuroscience and a faculty member at Columbia’s new Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and the Kavli Institute for Brain Science. “They open up a different way of thinking about how the cerebral cortex does what it does, which includes not only processing sight, sound, and touch but higher functions such as speech, decision-making, and abstract thought.”

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Why Do Humans Have Brains?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-18-2013

Truly fascinated by the Drosophila

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 02-26-2013

The Drosophila is so ubiquitous in genomic research that I believe many molecular biologists take it for granted. But the fruit fly is truly fascinating! Check out this cool video on one of the greatest feats of evolution, the flight of the fly.