Self generated sounds and the DCN

Let me introduce the protagonist: the DCN

DCN is the abbreviated form of dorsal cochlear nucleus. The DCN is a brainstem nucleus. DCN receives direct auditory input from the cochlea via the auditory nerve. The DCN also receives somatosensory input about the head, ear and jaw. Why do we have multisensory input at the first point at which auditory information is processed in the brain? This recent paper looks into the DCN, a multisensory hub.

Blog 8a

Blog 8b


We looked at how movement suppresses sensory information earlier. Seems like the DCN is the place where something similar happens in the auditory system.



Singla S, Dempsey C, Warren R, Enikolopov AG, Sawtell NB. A cerebellum-like circuit in the auditory system cancels responses to self-generated sounds.Nat Neurosci. 2017 Jul;20(7):943-950. doi: 10.1038/nn.4567. Epub 2017 May 22.


About Citizens, Science & Cheese

At the beginning of June, 44 PhD students from both sciences and humanities, selected from universities across Europe, participated in the LERU summer school “Citizen Science – nexus between research and public engagement” organised by the University of Zurich (UZH) – and I was one of the lucky nominees of LMU Munich. I must admit that before attending the summer school I didn’t know all too much about the topic. Within a week however, I had not only learned about the scope of citizen science projects, but I had even created one with other participants during the “Citizen Science Hack Day”! Therefore, I want to share my experiences and some of my newfound knowledge of citizen science. I will elaborate on whether you can use citizen science for your purposes (spoiler: you probably can), and I will also include some tips on what to do Zürich (spoiler: it involves cheese).

Continue reading “About Citizens, Science & Cheese”

Are stories distorting science?

In a recent opinion piece in Nature, cancer biologist Michele Pagano laments the ongoing “businessization” of science. He argues that mismanagement of scientific funding in the US is promoting a culture of “quantity over quality” in biomedical research, to the detriment of reliable science and academic rigour.

Pagano claims one aspect of “businessization” is the increasing volume of data that journals want in scientific papers, in order to make them appear more important. More important papers means more attention for the publishing journal, and ultimately greater profits. Particularly striking to me, Pagano notes the ever increasing use of the word “story” in reference to scientific papers, “a testament to the tabloidization of scientific information”, as he puts it.

Continue reading “Are stories distorting science?”

Nicotine avoidance and GLP-1 neurons

After stuffing your face with < enter favourite food >, you invariably feel full. You simply can’t eat anymore. This satiety is not an aversive experience, but rather an avoidance response.  Apparently, smokers also feel this satiety when it comes to their nicotine intake. They can titrate their nicotine intake to avoid the noxious effects of high levels of nicotine.

How does this come about?

The following paper from Tuesta et al., looks at the circuitry behind the phenomenon.

Continue reading “Nicotine avoidance and GLP-1 neurons”

PhD career development – what can you do?

Following Sara’s posts on post-PhD considerations and 20 alternative careers, I want to share the experience of some GSN students going through the post-PhD career questions in a group. So far I found this the most helpful way to work on that compared to all the workshops and career fairs, so I want to share the approach with you and really encourage you to try it out.

Continue reading “PhD career development – what can you do?”

Practise what you preach

The recent US election brought home once again the reluctance of large swathes of educated population to accept the ‘theory’ of evolution. A mere passing mention of the ceaseless creationist vs evolutionist debate triggers a stereotypical reaction from anyone who considers oneself even remotely related to scientific circles (graduate students, for example): a sigh, an awkward little laugh and apparent willingness to change subject, or – if you are lucky – a feat of righteous wrath and an impromptu lecture on the dire necessity of ‘educating the masses’. Continue reading “Practise what you preach”

Top 5 things to do as a neuroscience student in Munich this semester (SS 2017)

The summer semester is starting, so here are the top things to do as a neuroscience student in Munich  (in chronological order):

Continue reading “Top 5 things to do as a neuroscience student in Munich this semester (SS 2017)”

Top 20 alternative career paths

What comes after your PhD ? You might be wrapping up your PhD, set for a post-doc and suddenly having doubts about your career choice. Or, you might be just starting your PhD. It’s never too late, or too early, to give some thought to your career.

You can read about GSN student Sara’s  approach here.

Below is a list of top 20 alternative career paths, compiled by Cheekyscientist (from their free ebook).  Cheekyscientist is a platform that helps PhDs transfer from academia to the industry.

Continue reading “Top 20 alternative career paths”

Tips on applying for a PhD

It’s that time of the year again. And no, I am not talking about New Year’s resolutions (although sticking to them will probably be on the top of your list). I am talking about Graduate School Applications. Chances are that if pursuing a Master’s or a PhD has crossed your mind you will already be in the midst of scanning through dozens of Programmes/Scholarships and trying to figure out a way to make your application stand out from the rest. It’s a very busy, stressful and time-consuming period, but also one that will determine the next few years of your life and career. Continue reading “Tips on applying for a PhD”

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