Why we love basic research

Brandeis PhD students Jonathan Napoline (Graduate Program in Chemistry, Thomas lab) and Sara Haddad (Graduate Program in Neuroscience, Marder lab) tell PBS NewsHour why they’re excited about basic research



Undergraduate authors

Brandeis is proud of its tradition of undergraduates working in science labs,  alongside grad students, staff and postdocs. This work often leads to publications in the primary scientific literature (see list of undergraduate publications).

The most recent of these, by Nicholas Hornstein and collaborators in the Griffith lab, appears in the Journal of Visualized Experiments. This new journal focuses on using streaming video to provide access to high quality demonstrations of lab procedures (in this case, demonstrating dissection technique for doing neurophysiology in Drosophila larvae).

How regions of the brain get their specificity

The cortex is divided into functionally distinct regions, and the layers of the visual cortex are a classic example. But how much do the intrinsic electrical properties of a particular neuron type vary from region to region? In a recent paper in J. Neurosci., Brandeis Neuroscience graduate students Mark Miller and Ben Okaty together with Prof. Sacha Nelson found a new region-specific firing type in Layer 5 pyramidal neurons. They argue that features as basic as membrane properties can be region-specific, and that this regional specialization of circuitry contributes to the determination of the region’s functional specialization.

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