Heesoo Kim sent me a note that The NeuroTubes have released a set of neuroanatomy music videos. All of them are wacky and neat… here’s a clip of Proud to Be a Neural Tube (which achieves the impressive feat of rhyming notochord with neuropores):
Ray Kurzweil from Salon/bigthink.com on simulating the human brain:
I think he might be right that we can simulate the brain before we understand it, however.
I came across this fantastic review of tools for the Genetic Dissection of Neural Circuits in Neuron a few days ago. It’s by Liqun Luo, Ed Callaway, and Karel Svoboda. I highly recommend it, as it spans the gamut from genetic targeting (recombination, binary logic, viral delivery) to circuit reconstruction (super resolution LM, EM, brainbow) to activity modulation and functional mapping (uncaging, artificial GPCRs, light-gated channels, MIST). I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite a review of so many cutting edge neurotechnologies in one place. I can’t recommend this piece enough really. For me, with my lack of molecular expertise, the first sections on combinatorial gene targeting/expression techniques were great, pulling together Gal4, Cre/Flp, and Tet systems into a unified framework, along with more general concepts like site-directed integration, enhancer-trap, and repressor trap (eg. Thy1 mice).
Looks like the Society for Neuroscience is stepping into the 21st century with a formal call to its 38,000 members to help make neuroscience articles on Wikipedia better.
From the Neuroscience Wikipedia initiative:
SfN is calling upon members to harness the power of Wikipedia and support the Society’s mission of promoting public education about neuroscience.
Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, has become one of the major sources of information used by the public.
SfN’s Public Education and Communication Committee (PECC) recently reviewed the main Wikipedia neuroscience overview section and entries on 10 major branches of neuroscience. Many of the entries were still under construction and incomplete.
SfN aims to improve and expand Wikipedia’s neuroscience content by encouraging members to edit and contribute.
Well done, SfN!