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.
One of the most daunting things I faced when preparing my first communication attempts was not WHAT I was going to talk about, but HOW?!
It helped me A LOT to understand that there are 4 CORE ELEMENTS that pretty much every communication piece needs. With those in mind, I could start figuring out what my main message should be. It made starting to write / script / create SO much easier.
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.