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We were devastated by the news that Dr. Allison Doupe, a much-loved neuroscientist at UCSF, passed away late last year, following a long battle with cancer, a struggle that she refused to let mitigate the exuberance and overflowing passion with which she carried out her research. A symposium in Allison’s honor is being held tomorrow as an opportunity to reflect upon her intellectual and personal life.... Read more »
Brainard MS, & Doupe AJ. (2000) Interruption of a basal ganglia-forebrain circuit prevents plasticity of learned vocalizations. Nature, 404(6779), 762-6. PMID: 10783889
Rich, P., Liaw, H., & Lee, A. (2014). Large environments reveal the statistical structure governing hippocampal representations. Science, 345 (6198), 814-817 DOI: 10.1126/science.1255635
Have you ever felt lost and alone? If so, this experience probably involved your hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure in the middle of the brain. About 40 years ago, scientists with electrodes discovered that some neurons in the hippocampus fire each time an animal passes through a particular location in ........ Read more »
Rich, P., Liaw, H., & Lee, A. (2014) Large environments reveal the statistical structure governing hippocampal representations. Science, 345(6198), 814-817. DOI: 10.1126/science.1255635
We have recently learned that a dear friend of ours, Camille Barr, is ill with brain cancer. Camille was a very important friend and mentor to many of us here at Sick Papes, and we wanted to pay tribute to her science and to her contagious love for life.... Read more »
Barr CM, & Fishman L. (2010) The nuclear component of a cytonuclear hybrid incompatibility in Mimulus maps to a cluster of pentatricopeptide repeat genes. Genetics, 184(2), 455-65. PMID: 19933877
One of the more terrifying sub-genres of modern neuroscience is the study of animal aggression—specifically, the manipulation of brain circuits that produce unmitigated rage. And it’s no coincidence that David Anderson’s group at Caltech, the ruthless storm trooper horde of the ivory tower, has produced another sick pape that brings us one step closer to the production of ultra-furious super mercenaries.... Read more »
Lee, H., Kim, D., Remedios, R., Anthony, T., Chang, A., Madisen, L., Zeng, H., & Anderson, D. (2014) Scalable control of mounting and attack by Esr1 neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamus. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13169
Today, Sick Papes is thrilled to sit down with Dr. Ian Baldwin, eminent biologist and pioneer plant whisperer, to discuss a recent pape from his lab about the ineffable love/hate triangle between feisty tobacco plants, lazy grazing hornworms, and hungry-as-hell spiders. Dr. Baldwin is a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, where his group heroically uses genomic and molecular tools to study plant and animal interactions in the real godforsaken desert.... Read more »
Kumar P, Pandit SS, Steppuhn A, & Baldwin IT. (2014) Natural history-driven, plant-mediated RNAi-based study reveals CYP6B46's role in a nicotine-mediated antipredator herbivore defense. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(4), 1245-52. PMID: 24379363
it’s rare to find a practicing researcher who also takes the time to investigate the important historical exploits of his/her field. Throughout his career, Ernst-August Seyfarth has done just that, authoring several papes about relatively obscure hero neurobiologists. Here he takes on Leonard Bernstein, the father of the action potential... Read more »
Seyfarth EA. (2006) Julius Bernstein (1839-1917): pioneer neurobiologist and biophysicist. Biological cybernetics, 94(1), 2-8. PMID: 16341542
XVIII papes on lactation energetics... Read more »
Zhao ZJ, Song DG, Su ZC, Wei WB, Liu XB, & Speakman JR. (2013) Limits to sustained energy intake. XVIII. Energy intake and reproductive output during lactation in Swiss mice raising small litters. The Journal of experimental biology, 216(Pt 12), 2349-58. PMID: 23720804
Super nasty genome hacking I CANT BELIEVE IT!!... Read more »
Gymrek M, McGuire AL, Golan D, Halperin E, & Erlich Y. (2013) Identifying personal genomes by surname inference. Science (New York, N.Y.), 339(6117), 321-4. PMID: 23329047
The H. P. Lovecraft novella At the Mountains of Madness is a story about scientific hubris, and the insignificance of human achievement when confronted with the vastness that is the cosmos...... Read more »
Gilbert, S., & Zevit, Z. (2001). Congenital human baculum deficiency: The generative bone of Genesis 2:21-23 American Journal of Medical Genetics, 101 (3), 284-285 DOI: 10.1002/ajmg.1387
Humans are the only primates that don’t have bones in their penises (dicks). This beautiful pape proves that this is because God took the penis bone out of Adam to make Eve.
Though hilarious, this pape is actually a work of legit biblical scholarship by my scientific hero, Dr. Scott Gilbert, who literally ........ Read more »
Gilbert, S., & Zevit, Z. (2001) Congenital human baculum deficiency: The generative bone of Genesis 2:21-23. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 101(3), 284-285. DOI: 10.1002/ajmg.1387
Krieger J, Grandy R, Drew MM, Erland S, Stensmyr MC, Harzsch S, & Hansson BS (2012). Giant Robber Crabs Monitored from Space: GPS-Based Telemetric Studies on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). PloS one, 7 (11) PMID: 23166774
Anybody who knows me will tell you that I have a soft spot in my heart for the hard shell of our fellow crab-man. For all the land-lubbers out there, the crab is a heavily-armored, sideways-running little fellow that specializes in shoveling detritus (= trash) into its adorab........ Read more »
Krieger J, Grandy R, Drew MM, Erland S, Stensmyr MC, Harzsch S, & Hansson BS. (2012) Giant Robber Crabs Monitored from Space: GPS-Based Telemetric Studies on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). PloS one, 7(11). PMID: 23166774
Although I cannot mask my disappointment that it has taken 2012 years, I am nonetheless ecstatic to report that humankind has collectively figured out how to make four-legged and ten-legged spiders.... Read more »
Schwager, E., Pechmann, M., Feitosa, N., McGregor, A., & Damen, W. (2009) hunchback Functions as a Segmentation Gene in the Spider Achaearanea tepidariorum. Current Biology, 19(16), 1333-1340. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.06.061
To celebrate the dawn of December, a month of intense introspection and widespread brooding, Sick Papes brings you an exclusive soul-wrenching interview with neuroscientist and celebrity theoretician, Dr. Shaul Druckmann. Shaul’s recent pape (w/ Mitya Chklovskii) suggests a fresh answer to a beguiling question- how does the brain maintain persistent representations despite the fact that neuronal activity is constantly changing?
Personal experience tells us that the brain can maintain stable r........ Read more »
Druckmann, S., & Chklovskii, D. (2012) Neuronal Circuits Underlying Persistent Representations Despite Time Varying Activity. Current Biology, 22(22), 2095-2103. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.08.058
It is with great ambivalence that we recently learned that Hostess Bakeries, the corporation that coated generations of sniveling youngsters with a thin sticky film of fructose, has permanently extinguished its great roaring Twinkie ovens. Since the Great Depression, the specter of Hostess has haunted the American childhood, transforming many precocious naturalists-to-be into taffy-gargling, scrap-booking diabetic uncles. My own personal savior from the purgatory of Ding-Dong-dom was the health-........ Read more »
Mainen, Z., & Sejnowski, T. (1995) Reliability of spike timing in neocortical neurons. Science, 268(5216), 1503-1506. DOI: 10.1126/science.7770778
First things first: I just want to be totally clear that there is nothing funny about sickness, as it is traditionally defined. Real diseases aren’t a joke, no two ways about that.
But diseases can also reveal some of the really surprising ways that our bodies work. For instance, as many of my distinguished (and currently robo-tripping in the parking lot of a Houston Astro’s game) colleagues have pointed out, we know a lot about how language works from studies of people who have outrageousl........ Read more »
Hanchate NK, Giacobini P, Lhuillier P, Parkash J, Espy C, Fouveaut C, Leroy C, Baron S, Campagne C, Vanacker C.... (2012) SEMA3A, a gene involved in axonal pathfinding, is mutated in patients with Kallmann syndrome. PLoS genetics, 8(8). PMID: 22927827
There is a rumor in the scientific community that, by entering the right combination of keywords and Boolean expressions into PubMed, one can unlock a clandestine trove of high-quality, peer-reviewed, NIH-funded pornography. Although the cipher has not yet been cracked (it’s definitely not “intrinsic+sucking+dynamics-nutritive”), this exercise recently led us to a fetching little pape of disarming sickness.
In 1998, Donald Finan and Steven Barlow embarked on the exploration of the central........ Read more »
Finan DS, & Barlow SM. (1998) Intrinsic dynamics and mechanosensory modulation of non-nutritive sucking in human infants. Early human development, 52(2), 181-97. PMID: 9783819
It’s such a personal fantasy to go from human domestication into genetics into neural circuit physiology.... Read more »
Andersson, L., Larhammar, M., Memic, F., Wootz, H., Schwochow, D., Rubin, C., Patra, K., Arnason, T., Wellbring, L., Hjälm, G.... (2012) Mutations in DMRT3 affect locomotion in horses and spinal circuit function in mice. Nature, 488(7413), 642-646. DOI: 10.1038/nature11399
Bear with me as I share with you a tale of woe. Last summer, I had just taken a bunch of unusually strong hallucinogenic mushrooms when I learned via text-message that my family dog had been killed by coyotes. This obviously would have been devastating news under any circumstances, but given my precarious situation I had to additionally deal with the threat of having a dangerously terrible psychedelic experience. As I teetered on the edge, I received another text message - this one from a dear f........ Read more »
Ng CS, Wu P, Foley J, Foley A, McDonald ML, Juan WT, Huang CJ, Lai YT, Lo WS, Chen CF.... (2012) The chicken frizzle feather is due to an α-keratin (KRT75) mutation that causes a defective rachis. PLoS genetics, 8(7). PMID: 22829773
In his classic song “Heart of a Woman” (Double Up; 2007, Jive/Zumba Records), R. Kelly lays out the list of qualities of women which make them so wonderful:
1) “[Women] take us and lift us up.”
2) “[Women] give us chance after chance and we still find a way to F things up.”
3) “[Women] love us so much our lies become the truth.”
4) “[Women find] a way to smile just to keep from showing [their] hurt.”
I know what you’re thinking: this is definitely a comprehensive list ........ Read more »
Vagin VV, Sigova A, Li C, Seitz H, Gvozdev V, & Zamore PD. (2006) A distinct small RNA pathway silences selfish genetic elements in the germline. Science (New York, N.Y.), 313(5785), 320-4. PMID: 16809489
This hump day, we at Sick Papes bring you an exclusive heart-to-heart poolside chat with Jonathan Charlesworth, the author of a hot-off-the-press pape that was described by one of our Sick Papes interns as, “so-sick-it’ll-make-your-antiobiotic-resistant-staph-infection-feel-like-a-sensuous-spaghetti-squash-rubdown.” Currently AOP in the journal Nature, Jonathan’s pape investigates the neural mechanisms of trial-and-error song learning in the adorable Bengalese Finch. Along with his emin........ Read more »
Jonathan D. Charlesworth,, Timothy L. Warren, & Michael S. Brainard. (2012) Covert skill learning in a cortical-basal ganglia circuit. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature11078
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