Sebastian Seung’s Quest to Map the Human Brain

In 2005, Sebastian Seung suffered the academic equivalent of an existential crisis. More than a decade earlier, with a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Harvard, Seung made a dramatic career switch into neuroscience, a gamble that seemed to be paying off. He had earned tenure from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a year faster than the norm and was immediately named a full professor, an unusual move that reflected the sense that Seung was something of a superstar.

How to train your worm to explore the circuits involved in learning

AS AN UNDERGRADUATE, Angelina Sylvain was fascinated to learn that devastating declines in cognition and muscle coordination could be caused by changes in a single gene — the cause of Huntington’s disease. She was intrigued by the fact that brain surgery on an epileptic patient cured him of seizures, but wiped out his ability to form short-term memories.

These remarkable discoveries first drew Sylvain to the field of neuroscience, though she never imagined that her own efforts to understand the human brain would involve training tiny worms.

PNI Faculty Honored

PNI faculty member Yael Niv was one of four professors that received the 2013 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers.

FACULTY AWARD: Two Princeton projects among first NIH BRAIN Initiative awards

Two Princeton University projects are among the first group of studies selected by the National Institutes of Health to receive an overall $46 million in funds related to the federal BRAIN Initiative. Announced in 2013, the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative aims to map the activity of all the brain's neurons.

Brain's dynamic duel underlies win-win choices

People choosing between two or more equally positive outcomes experience paradoxical feelings of pleasure and anxiety, feelings associated with activity in different regions of the brain, according to research led by Amitai Shenhav, an associate research scholar at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University. Full Story.

Class Day 2014

On June 2nd the Neuroscience Institute celebrated the accomplishments of the graduating seniors in the Neuroscience Certificate Program. This year we had 43 students from various majors receive the certificate.

John Brinster, Class of 1943, Senior Thesis Prize

Stephanie Yayoi Teramoto Kimura

lana Witten receives a 2014 McKnight Scholar Award

Ilana Witten, an assistant professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, was awarded a 2014 McKnight Scholars Award for her proposal entitled "Deconstructing Working Memory: Dopamine Neurons and Their Target Circuits".

How to Think About the Risk of Autism by Sam Wang

A STUDY published last week found that the brains of autistic children show abnormalities that are likely to have arisen before birth, which is consistent with a large body of previous evidence. Yet most media coverage focuses on vaccines, which do not cause autism and are given after birth. How can we help people separate real risks from false rumors? Full Story.

What singing fruit flies can tell us about quick decisions

You wouldn't hear the mating song of the male fruit fly as you reached for the infested bananas in your kitchen. Yet, the neural activity behind the insect's amorous call could help scientists understand how you made the quick decision to pull your hand back from the tiny swarm.

Graduate Student Cristina Domnisoru to be honored for Jacobus Fellowship

Cristina Domnisoru, a neuroscience graduate student in David Tank's laboratory and recipient of Princeton's prestigious Jacobus Fellowship, will be honored at an Awards Ceremony during Princeton University's Alumni Day 2014.  The Porter Ogden Jacobus fellowship is the highest academic honor bestowed upon a graduate student, awarded annually to only four graduate students displaying the highest scholarly excellence in their graduate work.

Unpacking the toolkit of human consciousness

No matter how different they seem — the learned and contemplative neuroscientist versus the toy orangutan with a penchant for off-color jokes — almost any adult who experiences them knows that Princeton University professor Michael Graziano is the voice behind his simian puppet Kevin. Full Story

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