Q & As
Q&As with scientists on their research and its applications or special topics in the field.
Individual Differences in the Brain: Q&A with George F. Koob
Why do some alcohol drinkers transition to addiction while other do not? Why do some soldiers returning from war suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) while other do not? George Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Alcohol and Alcoholism Abuse (NIAAA), is one of the pioneers of research on the neurobiology and neurochemistry of emotional behavior. His work to better understand the way genetics and neurochemicals affect our brains has the potential to provide insight into addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other stresses that impact countless lives. He wrote the April Cerebrum essay, “The Darkness Within: Individual Differences in Stress.”
On the Power of Storytelling and the Brain: Q&A with Paul Zak
How does a link between narrative and oxytocin release have the power to shape our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors? That's one of the topics of the February Cerebrum article, "Why Inspiring Stories Make Us React: The Neuroscience of Narrative.” We ask some questions of its author, Paul J. Zak, PhD.
On Marijuana: Q&A with Sir Robin Murray
Are different strains and synthetic cannabinoids especially dangerous? That's the subject of January’s Cerebrum article, "Appraising the Risks of Reefer Madness.” We ask some questions of its author, Sir Robin Murray, MD.
On Revolution: Q&A with Wise Young
What would the next scientific revolution look like? That's the subject of the December 2014 Cerebrum article, "You Say You Want a Revolution.” We ask a few questions of co-author Wise Young.
Brain Games: Q&A with Walter R. Boot and Arthur F. Kramer
Brain games—a billion-dollar industry whose revenues are predicted to surpass $6 billion by 2020—is the subject of the November 2014 Cerebrum article, “The Brain Games Conundrum: Does Cognitive Training Really Sharpen the Mind?” We ask a few questions of Walter R. Boot, Ph.D., an associate professor at Florida State University, and Arthur F. Kramer, Ph.D., director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology and the Swanlund Chair and professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Illinois.
On Empathy: Q&A with Peggy Mason
Empathy—the ability to perceive and share another person's emotional state—is the subject of the October 2014 Cerebrum article “With A Little Help from My Friends: How the Brain Processes Empathy.” Answering questions about her research and the latest on this aspect of social neuroscience is Peggy Mason, Ph.D., a professor of neurobiology at the University of Chicago and the author of Medical Neurobiology. Mason, whose lab is currently interested in empathetic healing and helping behavior in rats, also offers an open online course, “Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life.”
Tracking the Tracts
Rare Disease Yields Clues to Early Myelin Development
The current treatment for a baby diagnosed with Krabbe disease, a rare and often fatal neurodevelopmental disorder affecting the motor system, can be very effective, but it also carries a 30 percent chance of death. Dana grantee Maria Escolar’s research may provide a better way to diagnose and treat infants with this and other motor diseases before the onset of visible symptoms, when treatment works best.
Bioethics in the Classroom
An Interview with Arthur Caplan, Ph.D. and Dominic Sisti, Ph.D.
The High School Bioethics Project aims to increase discussions about bioethics in high school classrooms through a combination of curriculum development, online initiatives, and outreach programs. In our grantee Q&A, Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., and Dominic Sisti, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania discuss the project, started in 2007.
Separating the Bad from the Good in Neuroimmunology
Dana grantee Michael Dustin, one of the world's foremost authorities on visualizing immune response in nervous systems, describes the new imaging techniques he and his colleagues are using to study the behavior of T cells in real time in mouse models of meningitis and multiple sclerosis.
A Glimpse of Stem Cells in the Living Human Brain
Dana grantee Mirjana Maletic-Savatic, Baylor College of Medicine, discusses the novel method she and her team are pioneering to track neurogenesis–the growth of new neurons–in the living human brain.
Will ‘Rubi the Robot’ Be the Ultimate Teacher’s Aide? Machine Learning and the Transformation of Education
Terrence J. Sejnowski, a computational neurobiologist at the University of California, San Diego, explains how “one of the great success stories in all of neuroscience and engineering over the last decade” could someday impact classrooms around the world. Stressing the importance of social learning, Dr. Sejnowski details the development of socially engaging robots and explains how these robots could transform the future of education by providing an individualized curriculum for every student.