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Perception Inception: Exploring How the Brain Makes Up the World with New Faculty Rishidev Chaudhuri

November 19, 2019
The world is made of matter, but between those particles are empty spaces, which paradoxically account for the majority of our perceived, concrete universe.

“This table feels hard,” said Assistant Professor Rishidev Chaudhuri, who sat in his office at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience. “That’s something that emerges at the collective population level.”

How individual particles come together to spontaneously create new structures is a question pondered by many physicists. The concept underlying that question—collective behavior—also intrigues neuroscientists.

Discovering Curiosity: Brain Puzzles with UC Davis Center for Neuroscience Director Kimberley McAllister

August 19, 2019

Puzzles always fascinated UC Davis Center for Neuroscience Director Kimberley McAllister. They’re initially what attracted her to science.

Raised in rural northern Virginia, McAllister enjoyed exploring the woods with her sister and dogs. She developed an avid interest in botany and ornithology, intrigued by the complexities of the natural world. She wanted to figure out answers to nature’s mysteries.  Eventually, McAllister’s ambition drew her to one of the most complex puzzles in the universe: the human brain.

Engineering a Balanced Diet? Hormone FGF21 Promotes Protein Preference

May 13, 2019

To function daily, your body gleans energy from three food-derived macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. How you divvy up those macronutrients in your diet is a matter of personal preference.

But what if you could train your brain to prefer one macronutrient over the other?

How Psychedelics Could Help Treat Depression with Neuroscience Ph.D. Student Lindsay Cameron

May 02, 2019

Ask most people about the neurochemical origins of depression and you’ll likely hear how low serotonin levels are the cause. But today’s scientists know depression’s roots are more tangled and complex. One area of interest to them is the brain’s prefrontal cortex, a region responsible for motivational and goal-directed behavior. For those with depression, this region’s neurons are unhealthy, their connections, called synapses, withering like rotten roots.

Meet Stela Petkova, Neuroscience Graduate Student and Grad Slam Finalist

March 04, 2019
About Grad Slam

UC Grad Slam is an annual contest in which master’s and Ph.D. students across UC campuses – in disciplines ranging from hard sciences to humanities – compete to sum up their research for a general audience. Students should present the significance and fundamental points of their work at UC Davis in a clear, direct, and interesting manner. Below you'll learn more about Grad Slam Finalist Stela Petkova, a neuroscience graduate student.

Name
Stela Petkova

Discovering Curiosity: Mining the Frontiers of Neuroscience with Wilsaan Joiner

January 09, 2019

What are the unmined frontiers of human knowledge?

As an adolescent, Wilsaan Joiner was asked this question by his father, but in classic parental fashion, his dad already had a couple of answers in mind. Space exploration was one.

“I hate to fly, so that was out,” said Joiner. “And the other area he thought was understanding how the brain works. He strongly suggested that neuroscience was an area where there was a potential amount of room to explore and grow and really contribute.”

Exploring Vision, Perception and Behavior: W. Martin Usrey Named Barbara A. Horwitz and John M. Horowitz Endowed Chair in Physiology

November 27, 2018

Amblyopia, or reduced vision from one eye, affects approximately two to three of every 100 children, according to the National Eye Institute. Today the disability is correctable, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that scientists realized the eye wasn’t responsible for the condition. Its origin was in how the eye and brain worked together. 

Discovering Curiosity: Making Music, Studying Memory with Charan Ranganath

October 22, 2018
Charan Ranganath’s journeys in science and music unfolded on parallel and different tracks, but there are similarities to how he approaches the two. For Ranganath, a cognitive neuroscientist studying memory, both his research and his music are expressions of curiosity, a concept that’s also becoming a focus of his lab.

Jennifer Whistler: On the Search for Safer Opioids

April 21, 2018
The opioid epidemic has been called the “deadliest drug crisis in American history” by the New York Times. According to Center for Neuroscience Associate Director Jennifer Whistler, professor of physiology and membrane biology, drug development is headed in the wrong direction. Whistler wants to create a balanced opioid that more closely mimics the way endorphins in the body switch pain relief on and off.