👋 Meet Margaret Gardner, creator of this week’s PNK supplemental video, “Learning to Read the Mind," which discusses how neuroscientists have been able to use brain activity to predict what a person is seeing.

👩‍🔬 🧠 Margaret is a 2nd year PhD student in @PennNGG and her research interests involve understanding how and why issues in brain development lead to mental illnesses.

🐶 🤔 Margaret is a neuroscientist that has always loved learning how complex things work- and not many things are more complicated than people! She also has passions for trivia, cheesy fries, and her dog, Sasquatch! Check out her most recent video here: pennneuroknow.com/2023/02/21/v

👩‍🔬 👨‍🔬 How does scientific research progress and why does it sometimes feel like it moves so slowly?

@Catrina_Hacker answers these questions in this post written as part of our collaboration with the International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society. She explains what makes biomedical research so complicated and breaks down some of the practical components of getting scientific research funded and published.


🧙🧠 Can neuroscientists read your mind? This week PNK writer Margaret Gardner answers this question with a video to supplement the previous post titled "Learning to read the mind" by Greer Prettyman.

💻 Margaret describes how neuroscientists can teach a kind of computer model called a neural network to predict what image a person is looking at based on their neural activity.

Video supplement: pennneuroknow.com/2023/02/21/v

Original post: pennneuroknow.com/2019/11/12/l

👋 Meet Sophie Liebergall, writer of this week’s PNK article, “Window of opportunity for learning”, which discusses “critical periods” and how early life experiences permanently shape our brains.

🧠 Sophie is a second year MD-PhD student in Penn’s Neuroscience Graduate Group. Her research interests involve understanding how neurons communicate, and fail to communicate, during epilepsy.

👩‍⚕️ Sophie has always wanted to be a medical doctor, and fell in love with brain research as she began medical school classes. She also has passions for running, writing fiction and poetry, and exploring Philadelphia!

Read her post here: pennneuroknow.com/2023/02/14/a

🗣️ Why is it so much harder to learn a new language as an adult than as a child? It's because children are in a special critical period in which it's easier for their brains to learn a language than later in life.

🧠 And it turns out that critical periods go beyond just learning languages! This week, writer Sophie Liebergall breaks down what a critical period is, some examples of critical periods that neuroscientists know a lot about, and what might make your brain so susceptible to learning during a critical period, in her post, "A window of opportunity for learning".


🧠 This week co-editor @Catrina_Hacker writes about a new study that looked at the association between viral infection and neurodegenerative diseases in her post titled, "Growing evidence for a link between viral infections and brain diseases".

😷 This is a follow-up to her previous post about the commonalities between COVID-19 infection and Alzheimer's disease. This week's post breaks down a recent study that found links between several viral infections and neurodegenerative diseases. Catrina discusses what this study does and does not tell us about this possible connection.

Read this week's post here: pennneuroknow.com/2023/02/07/g

And the original post here: pennneuroknow.com/2022/02/01/w

🎶 Meet @Catrina_Hacker, author of this week’s article “The case for turning up the bass” about the link between the bass component of music, enjoyment, and our compulsion to dance. Catrina is a 4th year PhD candidate in Penn's Neuroscience Graduate Group studying how we remember what we see.

🧠 Catrina has always been fascinated by how we fit our entire world into one organ: the brain. This week's post applies her passion for neuroscience to her passion for music by exploring how our brains go beyond sound when building our experience of music.

📚 🚲 🎲 When she’s not busy using her brain to understand the brain, she also loves reading mysteries and science fiction, long walks and bike rides, and playing board games with friends.

Check out her latest post here: pennneuroknow.com/2023/01/31/t

🎵💃 🎶 It turns out that when it comes to dancing it really is all about that bass. This week co-editor @Catrina_Hacker writes about the link between the bass component of music, enjoyment, and our compulsion to dance in her post “The case for turning up the bass”.

❓ What kind of music do you like to listen to? Do you enjoy music with heavy bass?


🐟 Meet @Kara_McGaughey, author of this week’s article “When did you become you?” that breaks down a recent study done in fish to explore when in early life individuality emerges. Kara is a 5th year candidate in @PennNGG studying decision making behavior.

🧠 Kara has been fascinated with neuroscience ever since dissecting a sheep’s brain in her high school science class.

🐶 🧘‍♀️ Outside of science she loves hiking, yoga, trying new recipes, and her dog Moe, pictured with her, who she considers her real passion/hobby/personality.

Check out her most recent article here: pennneuroknow.com/2023/01/24/w

❓ Have you ever wondered what makes you you? This is a complicated question to answer in humans where we can’t control every single thing that a human experiences for their whole life.

🐟 This week, writer Kara McGaughey talks about how a group of neuroscientists used a genetically identical group of fish to answer this question.

Read her post to find out whether the fish were born with their individuality or if they developed their individuality over time.


👋 Meet Lindsay Ejoh, author of this week’s article “Sex Differences in Pain” which explores differences between males and females during the experience of physical pain. She is a co-editor of the blog and a 3rd year PhD student in the University of Pennsylvania's Neuroscience Graduate Group.

🧠 Lindsay researches the neurobiology of pain and pain relief. She also loves to make educational TikToks breaking down neuroscience research or sharing her experience as a PhD student. You can find her on TikTok @neuro_melody.

🎶 Outside the lab, Lindsay is very passionate about music. She sings and plays guitar and piano in her free time. She is also dedicated to increasing minority representation in STEM.

You can read her most recent article here: pennneuroknow.com/2023/01/17/s

Why do some people experience more pain than others? Part of the answer might be a person's sex. This week co-editor Lindsay Ejoh writes about the research on sex differences in pain, with a discussion of the differences between sex and gender and how most studies have treated this. She then dives into the biological and psychosocial factors that could explain these differences with a look toward the future of what other research should be done.


Meet our writers!

For the next few months we'll be sharing a new writer profile each Friday giving you an inside look at the writer behind each week's article.

✍️ This week meet Joe Stucynski, the writer of this week’s article about the exciting development of a neural recording technology called Neuropixels.

😴🧠 Joe is a second year PhD student in the University of Pennsylvania's Neuroscience Graduate Group and his research interests revolve around how and why the brain falls asleep. Ever had trouble falling asleep or falling into a deep sleep? Joe studies brain activity during these transitions between wakefulness, sleep, and REM sleep.

🤔 Joe has always been fascinated with psychology and behavior, and loves studying sleep because he thinks there are still so many things left to learn about it.

🤸‍♂️ 🧗‍♂️ 📚 Before starting his PhD Joe competed in gymnastics for 18 years. He now channels his athletic energy into rock climbing, and also enjoys reading vintage sci-fi novels and short stories.

You can read his most recent article, "We have the technology!" here: pennneuroknow.com/2023/01/10/w

🧠 There’s a lot of stigma associated with electroconvulsive therapy due to its questionable past, but modern FDA-approved protocols can be an effective treatment for several psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder.

⚡ Learn more about how electroconvulsive therapy works in this week's special video supplement from co-editor Lindsay Ejoh.



Who are you when you're split in two? When it comes to your brain, two halves do not make a whole. Learn about how the two halves of your brain communicate and what happens when you cut your brain in half in this week’s article by Barnes Jannuzi.


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