It’s Fright Night!

By Lucy Lewis Edited By Lauren & Sophie Halloween is the time for all things scary, and the best thing for scaring people is to put on a good horror movie, preferably something with creepy dark figures appearing suddenly after a long, tense build up. But what is it about these films that gets us so freaked…

Can’t hear someone at a loud party? Just turn your head!

By Josh Stevenson-Hoare Edited By Lucy & Sophie At one point or another, we have all been in this uncomfortable situation. You are talking to someone at a party, and then had the realisation – you can’t understand a word they are saying. You smile and nod along until they get to what sounds like a question….

Microglia: Guardians of the Brain

By Ruth Jones Edited by Sam & Chiara Our Immune System works hard to protect us from unwanted bugs and help repair damage to our bodies. In our brains, cells called Microglia are the main immune players. Microglia are part of a group of immune cells called Macrophages, which translates from Greek as “big-eaters”. Much…

Brain-controlled mice face robobugs

­ By Monika Sledziowska, Edited by Oly & Jonathan  Have you ever wondered how realistic was the mind control technology presented in Kingsman: the secret service? I can’t claim to go to many Hollywood parties, but I may have an idea. In a lesser-known series of experiments, in the 1960s a Yale University Professor, Jose Delgado,…

The indirect applications of leisure technology

As grant applications within science become increasingly competitive, the pressure grows to highlight the direct benefits of one’s research to human health and prosperity. These are the impact statements–is your research going to directly contribute to the “cure”? Unfortunately, this attitude obscures a very important source of new knowledge and tools–simple curiosity and ‘play’. It…

♥ Achy-breaky heart? Try touchy-feely brain! ♥

Written by Laura Smith As today is Valentine’s day, let’s get a bit touchy-feely. Whether you’re looking forward to a date with your significant other; planning to profess your feelings to a special someone; or hoping your soulmate will sweep you off your feet, you’d probably like to share a romantic caress. But what happens…

Who the hell is MEG, and how can she help us understand the brain?

Let me tell you about a MEG who doesn’t get her fair share of the limelight. MEG uses her SQUIDs to catch your brain activity, after it has left your head. She’s quite a fast mover, and can do this at a millisecond rate! Strangely though, she’s kept locked in a room with really thick walls….

Happy Halloween!

I know you were wondering this today, and yes, there is a subset of genes named “Halloween genes”. In line with a long standing tradition of naming biological units after silly things, the halloween gene family includes spook, spookier, phantom (phm), disembodied (dib), shadow (sad), and shade. These genes were first identified in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit…

What is neuroimmunology and why should I care?

By Dr Niels Haan Everybody knows about the immune system, right? You get an infection and your body mobilises its army of immune cells and fights off the invaders. You get a fever, feel awful for a while, then things get back to normal. However, in the brain, it doesn’t work that way. In immunology,…

Your cat is trying to control your mind! (Inadvertently).

Cats or dogs? An eternal debate, with passionate advocates on both sides. Those in the pro dog camp have an unusual argument they could lobby: cats can infect you with mind controlling parasites. Toxoplasma gondii is a single celled obligate parasite, which means it is unable to complete its life cycle without a suitable host….

Is spider venom the future of pain relief?

An estimated 8 million people suffer from moderate to severe chronic pain in the UK [1]. Although it may arise from an initial injury or an on-going illness, chronic pain can also occur when feedback mechanisms in your brain malfunction, leaving sufferers to feel constant pain, at times for no apparent cause. Treatments frequently leave…