Advancing neuroscience by listening to fruit flies.

Mala Murthy spends a good bit of her time studying fruit flies—specifically, the songs male fruit flies create during courtship, when they stand near a female and vibrate an extended wing.

“The fly is doing something really complicated,” explains Murthy, an assistant professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. “He’s measuring how fast his partner is moving, how far away she is, and constantly modulating what he sings to best match her movement.”

Yael Niv receives 2015 Troland Research Award

The Troland Research Award was established by a trust created in 1931 by the bequest of Leonard T. Troland. Niv’s work has focused on how the brain sorts information, effectively parsing complex environments into relevant, bite-sized chunks that can be acted upon efficiently. 

Two Princeton scientists revisit the mechanics of the action potential

The action potential is widely understood as an electrical phenomenon. However, a long experimental history has documented the existence of co-propagating mechanical signatures. Ahmed El Hady from the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Benjamin Machta from the Lewis-Sigler institute have proposed a theoretical model to explain these phenomenon which they term Action Waves. 

Tank receives Brain Prize for advance in Microscopy

David Tank, the Henry L. Hillman Professor in Molecular Biology and Co-Director Princeton Neuroscience Institute, has been named one of four winners of the Brain Prize, an honor that recognizes scientists who have made outstanding contributions to brain research.

Innovation funds awarded to support natural sciences, humanities projects and industry collaborations

Kai Li, the Paul M. Wythes '55 P86 and Marcia R. Wythes P86 Professor in Computer Science, and Sebastian Seung, professor of computer science and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, will collaborate with the Intel Corporation to speed up the computation time involved in deep learning, a form of machine learning with the capacity to tackle modeling of the brain and other complex systems.

The Attention Machine

A new brain-scanning technique could change the way scientists think about human focus.

Chasing Down an Immune Protein in the Brain Could Shed Light on Autism

Fifteen years ago, the proteins that Princeton neuroscientist Lisa Boulanger studies weren’t even thought to exist in the brain. Known as major histocompatibility complex class I, or MHCI proteins, they are essential for an adaptive immune response. The thought at the time was that the brain was an area of the body where the immune system wasn't active--it would be too dangerous if the immune system attacked neurons, cells that cannot be easily replaced. Instead, Boulanger found, MHCI proteins have unexpected, different jobs in the brain, where they are critical for the establishment of normal brain circuits.

FACULTY AWARD: Tank receives Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize

David Tank, Princeton University's Henry L. Hillman Professor in Molecular Biology and co-director of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, has received the 2015 Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize, which recognizes seminal discoveries that advance scientists' understanding of the brain. Tank was recognized for his "discovery of fundamental mechanisms of neural computation," which includes key contributions to the development of novel imaging and computational research methods that are critical for the study brain circuit function.

Human brain keeps memories tidy by pruning inaccurate ones

Forget about it.
Your brain is a memory powerhouse, constantly recording experiences in long-term memory. Those memories help you find your way through the world: Who works the counter each morning at your favorite coffee shop? How do you turn on the headlights of your car? What color is your best friend's house?

Brain Boosters

FOR A LONG TIME, scientists believed that a mammal’s brain stopped adding neurons — the building blocks of the nervous system — soon after birth. When children, teenagers, or adults learned and formed new memories, it was thought, there were changes in the connections between existing neurons, not the creation of new ones. (FULL ARTICLE)

Decoding the Brain

REMEMBER YOUR LAST DATE at the movies? Your memory of that night is a web of associations: The popcorn smell of the theater. Your giddiness. The blue sweater worn by your date. The aftertaste of the work you were doing earlier — a client meeting, an email from your boss. Memory is that web: the moods, sensations, and thoughts of a moment in time. All these coincident details are bound together by the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped brain region under your temple.

Keys to the Mind

ANYONE WHO STEREOTYPES video gaming as the pastime of slackers might be surprised by how Princeton professor David Tank and his research team delve into the neuroscience of navigation. Two floors below the entrance to the new Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI) building, behind a heavy black curtain, lies a virtual-reality game fit for a mouse. During a typical experiment, researchers project a maze, similar to what appears in 1990s-era video games, onto a small curved screen.

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.


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