Science Writing Portfolio

Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience Annual Reports

National Institute of Health (NIH) Radio Clips

Science Blogging Samples

Navigating Through Space with May-Britt Moser

“Wow, nice to see you all,” she said peering out from the bright lights of her stage, smiling at the crowd of over 29, 000 conference attendees. These were the first words Dr. May-Britt Moser spoke when she took the stage for SFN’s 2015 Presidential lecture last Tuesday. It was really nice to see her too, of course, and though we were weary from 5 days of conferencing, the room was full of anticipation.

Retrospectively, a few key phrases immediately come to mind when thinking about the wealth of data she shared: Flintstone. Rats. Rats riding cars. Grids. Speed. Pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus of the mesencephalic locomotor region. Right. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’d like to actually go through the (old and new) data she presented, but first — [read full blog post here]

Choose Your Delusion

Things are not always as they seem. We’ve all heard that cliche. Yet, as I always argue, hackneyed phrases develop by virtue of their repeated confirmation of a truth. Still…to what degree can such a claim be made? How far can this cliche really extend? Is it simply a fun expression to throw around in situations that teach us we don’t always see the “whole” story in the face of a given experience? Or does this phrase literally translate into our embodied and physical experience with the world around us? I think you can guess where I’m going with this…

What you see…may be an illusion.

[read full blog post here]

Can You…Plagiarize Yourself?

His name is Jonah Lehrer. He is thirty years old – and he’s somewhat of a celebrity in the world of science writing. As former undergraduate researcher in Eric Kandel’s lab at Columbia University, he began first researching and reading – then writing about science. His blog The Frontal Cortex quickly gained popularity and it was only a matter of time before it grew to be a regular section at the popular science magazine Wired. You may have also heard him on the radio, as he is a regular contributor to the well-known science show: WNYC – RadioLab. In addition to blogging, he has three published books to his name (his most recent one entitled “Imagine: How Creativity Works”) and to top off his list of achievements, he was recently hired as a staff writer for The New Yorker (yes, THE New Yorker). At the rate he’s going, it seems there is nothing that can stand in the way of this young, ambitious science writer. [read full blog post here]

Are you who I think you are?

So it turns out: Cruella DeVille…isn’t all that cruel. I know, I know… it’s hard to believe. It’s even harder to believe that now when I look at pictures of her, or even clips of her (such as the scary one linked above) … I feel an immense swell of respect and love for the woman who is actually Glenn Close – and not just Cruella (tell your inner six-year old to stay with me here).Every year, the SfN meeting is kicked-off by a “Dialogues with Society” section. This event is as described by the Society itself an event which: “features a luminary speaker whose work touches on brain function and the diversity of human experience.”

This year’s topic? Mental Illness – and the stigma associated with it.

[read full blog post here]

Mouse Basics: Ob/Ob Mice

In the 1950s, Ingalls and colleagues discovered “some very plump young mice” in one of their mouse colonies. Obesity in mice is typically very rare, so the physical characteristics of these particular mice set them apart from the rest of the colony. For example, at a mere 4-weeks of age their bodies were described by the researchers as “rather square” and with “expansive hind quarters”. As they grew to adulthood, the mice reached body masses as much as three times as their normal littermates. Although the mutation was spontaneous, today, these mutant ob/ob mice are specifically engineered as a model for obesity and Type-II diabetes. [read full blog post here]

Cautionary Tales in 21st Century Medicine 

Technological improvements and an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the basic sciences are allowing us, as a society, to develop creative solutions to the pressing health care problems of today. However, these advances do not preclude us from occasionally blundering. Here’s a look at what Forbes magazine named the “Top 10 Medical Flops of the Decade.”   

MIT Scientists Maximize Solar Energy 

Solar power is generally regarded as an environmentally friendly energy source, albeit an expensive one.  In order to minimize costs, many have focused on the production costs of photovoltaic cells – the cells that make up a solar panel.  However, until recently, no one considered simply rearranging the solar panels themselves. Scientists at MIT have reconfigured the panels in cubes or extending towers in order to maximize the amount of solar energy that can be harvested. Some of the constructed structures have more than doubled the amount of solar power!

Contributing Writer of Science & Health Section of Washington Wire

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