• Recipes,  Science,  Uncategorized

    Lateralization and Face Perception

    So excited! For the first time ever today, I had a first author publication come out in the Journal of Neuroscience. It’s pretty special to see your work be published for the world to see, especially when you’ve dedicated a lot of time and energy towards its completion. I’m happy to email anyone a PDF if you can’t access it directly from the journal.    

  • Science,  Uncategorized

    The Will to Persevere Induced by Electrical Stimulation of the Human Cingulate Cortex

    We published a paper today in Neuron: The Will to Persevere Induced by Electrical Stimulation of the Human Cingulate Cortex. The anterior cingulate is an area of the brain involved in emotion, pain, etc. In this paper, we show that electrical stimulation of this region causes subjects to report a feeling of imminent challenge. Strikingly, both subjects report a strong will to overcome and persevere through the difficulties. They also experienced autonomic changes (increased heart rate) and resting-state fMRI connectivity analysis showed that the site of stimulation in both patients was in a key portion of the brain’s salience network (known to be involved in emotion). The paper (a summary…

  • Science,  Uncategorized

    Neural activity in natural settings

    When scientists design an experiment, we try really hard to minimize the number of variables so that we can identify a clear change caused by our experimental parameters. This is useful because it allows us to ask a specific question and manipulate a unique condition to study its effects. Though this may be experimentally useful, there is a disconnect between the findings of these experimental paradigms and how our bodies function in “real-life”. This new paper, from our lab at Stanford, tries to address the congruence between experimental paradigms and natural conditions. We looked at neural responses in parietal cortex during an arithmetic condition and then used that activation to…

  • Science,  Uncategorized

    A Brain Area for Visual Numerals

    Our article, A Brain Area for Visual Numerals, was published today in the Journal of Neuroscience. The work describes a specific brain region, in the inferior temporal gyrus, that is preferentially activated when viewing visual numerals (e.g., “4”). Strikingly, this cluster of neurons was not significantly activated when presented with similar words (e.g., “for” or “four”) or with scrambled similar looking shapes. This paper was my first real experience seeing the ups and downs of the peer-review scientific publication process; it’s been quite a journey. Excited that this work is finally out!   Journal of Neuroscience: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/33/16/6709.abstract Press: Stanford Press Release Fox News Scope Blog Business Standard

  • Science,  Uncategorized

    BRAIN Initiative

    This morning, I woke up to multiple texts and three emails about the new BRAIN initiative. This either means that a) I have too many friends that work in government or b) that I tend to be the only neuroscientist my friends know. Either way, it’s an exciting day! President Obama announced the BRAIN initiative, a new plan to support neuroscience research and growth in the US. “The BRAIN initiative will [give] scientists the tools they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action.” The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative is an aggressive plan to support and fund innovative techniques that attempt to map and characterize the…

  • Science,  Uncategorized


    I clearly am late to the game on this but I just discovered the hashtag #overlyhonestmethods and seriously spent 20 minutes reading through the posts, laughing out loud, and orating the best ones to the science nerds around me…. @ethomm “#overlyhonestmethods – sample stayed on ice between centrifuge runs for as long as it took me to check my social media feeds” @DrTwittenheimer “A modified protocol was implemented because a certain graduate student seems unable to follow simple instructions.#overlyhonestmethods” @eperiste “We settled on co-first authorship because it’s less bloody than dueling. #overlyhonestmethods” Story of my life or what? @MrEpid “#overlyhonestmethods We don’t know how the results were obtained. The postdoc who did…

  • Science,  Uncategorized

    Face distortion!

    Exciting news!!! My first coauthor paper came out today in Journal of Neuroscience. It’s pretty cool to feel like I’m actually starting to become a “real scientist.” The paper describes the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electrocorticography (ECoG), and electrical brain stimulation (EBS) to study the area of the brain involved in facial recognition. Here are a few relevant links: The Journal of Neuroscience News Coverage: Stanford Press Release with embedded video link Huffington Post SF Chronicle (front page!) ABC News Time!

  • Science,  Uncategorized

    SFN 2012

    I’ve been in new orleans for the past week at the Society for Neuroscience 2012 Annual meeting. This is my fourth SFN meeting and as per usual it didn’t disappoint. There were tons of great posters & talks, ridiculously long lines for coffee, bad conference center food, and people sprawled along every hallway on their laptops. One very exciting thing about this year’s meeting was that I presented a first author poster!! It was really great to hear encouraging feedback from scientists from around the world and talk to inquisitive and insightful people in a variety of neuroscientific disciplines. The collaborative nature of the conference really is a special feel-…

  • Science,  Uncategorized

    Mandatory life without parole

    I have a secret love affair with NPR and some of their programs especially Wait, wait… Don’t Tell Me and All Things Considered. Regardless, today I listened to a very brief NPR program called Brain Science Behind Youth Life Sentence Ruling. It honestly had little, to no science in it. It simply explained that the supreme court recently ruled that mandatory life without parole for juveniles who are convicted of murder is unconstitutional. The only “science” in it was just a brief blip about how brain development isn’t complete until our 20s so children lack the maturity, self-control, and good judgment of adults. Regardless, it’s a big ruling given that it…

  • Science,  Uncategorized

    Science Media

    I am generally a fan of science in the news. I’m honestly a believer that some public coverage, regardless of how basic or general, is good for science because the more people hear about what’s going on, the more likely they are to care. Call it wishful thinking, or call it naivety, but it seems like we have to keep talking about science (and not only amongst ourselves) in order to spread the word. I read a book by Chris Mooney called Unscientific America that describes the divide between scientists, the media, legislators, and the American public. Though it didn’t do a very good job of providing solutions to the…

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