Interview with Patricia Churchland (part 1): the importance of philosophers, farming and methods to access neural circuits

I sat down for an interview with Patricia Churchland, the founder of neurophilosophy, before she gave a talk as part of the Munich Neuroscience Lecture Series on December 5th 2016. We talked about various topics including working in interdisciplinary teams, science communication, thinking of leaving research and being a woman in science. In this first part, we discussed the importance of philosophers, farming and methods to access neural circuits.

Continue reading “Interview with Patricia Churchland (part 1): the importance of philosophers, farming and methods to access neural circuits”

Resources for post-PhD considerations

Yes, it will be that time next year: when I need to figure out what I’m doing with my life. Academia? If not, what options are there? Since I have spent some time looking for other options, I will share the resources I came across – maybe you also need to figure out what to do with your life next year? Continue reading “Resources for post-PhD considerations”

Movement related activity suppresses certain sensory signals

When you want to judge the texture of an object, you actively use your fingers to touch and feel the given surface. The very act of moving your fingers already provides sensory stimulation (e.g.: the skin in between your fingers stretches). How does the brain make sure this sensory stimulus does not drown the information from the salient touch ?

Continue reading “Movement related activity suppresses certain sensory signals”

How to legally re-use your own figures

When working on the figures for a recent paper I realised that I was using schemes of the animal I work with that come from a copyright-protected book. I decided that I will get rid of those schemes and instead produce my own. However, there was still a potential copyright issue: depending on where the paper would be published, the rights for the figures might well end up with the journal rather than with me. The solution that allows you and others to re-use your own figures is to publish everything on a platform such as figshare under a creative commons license before you publish it in a paper, and then cite yourself on figshare in your paper. That’s what I did! Continue reading “How to legally re-use your own figures”

Top 5 things to do as a neuroscience student in Munich this semester

One of the few lists that might be actually useful for you! So here are the top things to do as a neuroscience student in Munich in the winter semester 2016/17 (in chronological order) : Continue reading “Top 5 things to do as a neuroscience student in Munich this semester”

The single reason why basic research is important

basic research

People like me who are doing basic research are often asked how our basic science research can be applied. Most of the time, we don’t know. Nobody knows. Maybe someday we will, maybe we won’t. This is not important. Why not? Continue reading “The single reason why basic research is important”

Internal representation of space influences visual processing

Say you are walking down the same street you have walked every day for a decade. Before you realize what you are looking at, you notice something is different. Maybe the McDonald’s has been replaced by Burger King. What’s going on ?

Our internal representation of space has come under the spotlight with the discovery of spatial maps in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. But how does this internal model affect our sensory processing ? This recent paper looks at the activity of visual cortex neurons and how they are influenced by the internal representation of an environment.  Continue reading “Internal representation of space influences visual processing”

Orientation selectivity and functional clustering of synaptic inputs

Moving away from our theme of memory consolidation, looking at Parvalbumin and Somatostatin interneurons, in this blog post we focus on the visual system.

In 1958, David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel discovered that cells in the visual cortex of cats respond to bars of light moving in a specific direction. Their discovery of these cells, termed as ‘orientation selective cells’, has revolutionized the whole field of neuroscience.

This recent paper peers into the origin of diversity of orientation selectivity in the visual cortex.

Continue reading “Orientation selectivity and functional clustering of synaptic inputs”

Principal Investigator in the Spotlight: Dr. Virginia Flanagin

From winning state level singing championships in high school to majoring in biology and music in college, from struggling to manage a graduate project in South Africa to having the audacity to leave everything behind and move to Germany: Virginia’s career path is anything BUT ordinary. Continue reading “Principal Investigator in the Spotlight: Dr. Virginia Flanagin”

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