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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Staying on the Grid: Placing a Nobel-prize Winning Neuroscience Discovery in a UT Austin Context

Staying on the Grid: Placing a Nobel-prize Winning Neuroscience Discovery in a UT Austin Context

Yesterday, three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of two types of brain cells involved in keeping track of where we are when moving around. Called place cells and grid cells, they may hold the key to understanding aspects of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. Laura Colgin, who did research with two of the prize-winning scientists awarded this year’s Nobel Prize, is now an associate professor of neuroscience in the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences who continues to investigate the role of place cells in spacial memory tasks and more.

Brain Control in a Flash of Light

Brain Control in a Flash of Light

One of the most exciting new tools to be developed in neuroscience in the past decade is called optogenetics. It allows researchers to turn individual neurons in the brain of a living human subject off and on without surgery or other invasive procedures. Researchers around the world are now using it in the hopes of unlocking countless mysteries of ...
Neurons in the Brain Tune into Different Frequencies for Different Spatial Memory Tasks

Neurons in the Brain Tune into Different Frequencies for Different Spatial Memory Tasks

The hippocampus. Image courtesy of the Colgin lab.

Your brain transmits information about your current location and memories of past locations over the same neural pathways using different frequencies of a rhythmic electrical activity called gamma waves, report neuroscientists at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Horn: Junk Food, Good Science

The Horn: Junk Food, Good Science

Think you’ll always pick chocolate over a bag of chips? Don’t be so sure. Researchers have found that if they can get people to pay more attention to a particular type of junk food, they will begin to prefer it—even weeks or months after the experiment. The finding suggests a new way to manipulate our decisions and perhaps even encourage us to pick...
Memories Serve as Tools for Learning and Decision-Making, New Study Shows

Memories Serve as Tools for Learning and Decision-Making, New Study Shows

Alison Preston, of the Center for Learning and Memory, shows that when humans learn, their brains relate new information with past experiences to derive new knowledge.

Is Poverty the Key Factor in Student Outcomes?

Is Poverty the Key Factor in Student Outcomes?

Michael Marder, the co-director of the UTeach program, which trains secondary school math and science teachers, looks at public education data and explains the significance of poverty, why he thinks charter schools are not necessarily the answer and how public education is like a Boeing airplane.

Alcohol Helps the Brain Remember, Says New Study

Alcohol Helps the Brain Remember, Says New Study

Drinking alcohol primes certain areas of our brain to learn and remember better, says a new study from the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research at The University of Texas at Austin.

To Spank or Not to Spank: Is It Still A Question?

To Spank or Not to Spank: Is It Still A Question?

Elizabeth Gershoff studies the impact of corporal punishment (and other, more severe forms of physical punishment) on children. I sat down with her to ask her the big questions about spanking.

People Learn New Information More Effectively When Brain Activity is Consistent, Research Shows

People are more likely to remember specific information such as faces or words if the pattern of activity in their brain is similar each time they study that information, according to new research from a neurobiologist.