The deal with dopamine

One of the important open questions in decision neuroscience today concerns the exact role of dopamine in reward. Even though it is well known that the mesolimbic dopamine systems are somehow involved in the mammalian brain’s response to obtaining a reward, the precise contribution of these systems is still up for debate. More specifically, we … Continue reading

Implanting artificial memories in mice and flies

A couple of months ago I attended an interesting lecture by Dr Kaoru Inokuchi from the University of Toyama in Japan. His research group is using optogenetics to implant new memories in mice – memories of events that never actually happened in the first place! Optogenetics is a hot topic in neuroscience these days, so … Continue reading

Deep learning, all the cool kids are doing it

More than in other areas of computer science, in machine learning there always seems to be a buzz word or a fancy algorithm that everyone is talking about. From support vector machines to genetic algorithms, it all sounds very intricate and mysterious, but the mathematical foundations behind these methods have remained essentially the same over … Continue reading

Parkinson’s disease and deep brain stimulation

Happy 4-day weekend! I finally managed to find some free time to write again. And since I have been studying neurodegenerative diseases lately, let’s talk about Parkinson’s disease (PD). Parkinson’s disease is characterised by the death of dopaminergic neurons in a brain structure called the substantia nigra, located in the midbrain. When about 50-80% of … Continue reading

My research on Wired magazine

My work on Twitter behavioural patterns was featured in a (tiny) article in the US Wired this month, and also on their website. If only I had the skills to create cool plots like these for the original paper.

Roger Sperry’s frog experiments

Halloween is happening in a few days so I figured this might be an appropriate time to talk about some gruesome frog experiments that happened at Caltech a while back. In the 1940′s, this guy called Roger Sperry (who happened to win a Nobel prize in physiology and medicine some decades later, by the way) … Continue reading