I proudly present my first collaboration with German SciComm YouTuber Dr. Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim! Besides running one of Germany’s biggest channels for science communication with currently 570k subscribers, Dr. Nguyen-Kim also moderates the successful science show “Quarks” on public TV. She has been awarded several highly prestigious prizes over the last two years.
Using Elon Musk’s preprint paper for a new brain-machine interface as a hook, I first introduce some neuroscience basics. Then I describe three impressive experiments by Miguel Nicolelis to showcase the possibilities of BMIs. Finally, I discussed the difficulties and disadvantages of current approaches, and how Elon Musk’s company Neuralink aims to solve some of them.
Dr. Nguyen-Kim was able to get disabled inclusion activist Raul Krauthausen for an interview to add an ethics discussion. Overall, I am humbled by Dr. Nguyen-Kim’s ability to turn the script into an entertaining video. Working with her as well as her writer Dr. Lars Dittrich and her animation specialist Melanie Gath was a great experience.
In July I participated in the German science web video contest “Fast Forward Science”. In this video I explain the concept of the “brain changes” that people keep talking about in the headlines: brain states, and neuroplasticity.
The video is in German, but you can switch on English subtitles.
P.S. Unfortunately the video did not make it into the second round 🙁
When mice learn the identity of other mice, they memorize their smell. Based on findings from another lab my adviser had shown that stimulating the release of noradrenalin causes plastic changes in the Main Olfactory Bulb. I used fluorescent imaging to show that such changes already appear at the first synapse that connects the olfactory sensory neurons to the rest of the brain.
Zebra finches have a problem: their eyes are too close together for good depth perception through stereovision. The distance up to which you can estimate depth from stereovision depends on the difference between the images from the two eyes. The closer together the eyes are, the more similar the images, the shorter the range in which stereovision works for you.
For my undergraduate thesis in 2005, I studied the Oriental Firebellied Toad, Bombina orientalis. Males come around a pond to call for females, and females choose their favorite caller and move towards it. To make this possible, males have evolved a strategy to avoid calling simultaneously, which I reproduced in the lab.