Month: August 2016

Why Aren’t Politicians Talking About Science, and Should We Care?

Why Aren’t Politicians Talking About Science, and Should We Care?

With two months to go before election day, we’ve already seen numerous candidates in numerous debates.  It seems like politicians will debate everything…except science. Science is all around us, and has wide reaching economic, health, and social implications.  Despite this, science is conspicuously absent in…

Science Outreach: Is It Really Worth it?

Science Outreach: Is It Really Worth it?

Standing off to the side of the demonstration, I watched a six-year-old girl carefully pick up her paper airplane from the ground and bring it back to her work station. With intense concentration, she snipped away a part of each wing, making the plane more…

Is My Professor’s Lecture Style Affecting My Learning?

Is My Professor’s Lecture Style Affecting My Learning?

You’re sitting in class as your professor rambles on. The material is interesting, but the lecture is choppy. The professor stops-and-starts frequently, sounding uncertain, and you’re counting the number of times he says, “um.” Meanwhile, your friend is taking the same class with a different…

A Ph.D in Anxiety

A Ph.D in Anxiety

I’m standing in front of a long conference table, rubbing my clammy palms on my blazer. My committee is discussing my transcripts and research progress.  One professor is questioning the importance of my project, someone is whispering that I have no idea how the laser…

#NotAStudentHere

#NotAStudentHere

  In January 2015, my Ph.D. adviser invited me into her office at Rutgers University, where I was enrolled, for what I thought was a typical meeting.  After the requisite small talk, she began alluding to possible research opportunities for me at the University of…

Using Ecstasy for Agony – Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with MDMA

Using Ecstasy for Agony – Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with MDMA

The words of your elementary school teachers may echo in your ears whenever you hear something related to the War on Drugs. “Drug free is the way to be,” and, “Just say no to drugs,” they said. Those teachers may be surprised to find out…

Perseid Meteor to Light Up Night Sky

Perseid Meteor to Light Up Night Sky

The Perseids are here! This annual meteor shower is one of the best and brightest, but this year it’s predicted to be even more spectacular. So, if you’re in a dark place tonight, look up. You may see a 4.5-billion-year-old remnant from the solar system burn…

Starring Caffeine as the Bully of the Brain

Starring Caffeine as the Bully of the Brain

Completely legal and unregulated, caffeine is a staple of bustling culture, from office workers with travel mugs making a grab for their suitcases at 6 am to journalists refilling their “Happy Holidays” mug at midnight in order to make a deadline. No matter the profession,…

Optogenetics: Illuminating Brain Function

Optogenetics: Illuminating Brain Function

Shedding light on brain function has never been so literal. The idea that light could be used to control brain cells has always seemed like a far-fetched possibility, something more out of a scene from Star Trek than reality. The brain is a hugely complex…

Are Stem Cells Just Tiny Normal Cells?

Are Stem Cells Just Tiny Normal Cells?

You’re at a social gathering and someone asks, “So, what do you do?” It’s meant to be a casual conversation starter, but do you ever find yourself taking a mental breath before answering? As an immunologist studying stem cells, I take that mental breath to…