The Cell Cycle for the Neuroscientist: 3 Useful Concepts

The Cell Cycle for the Neuroscientist: 3 Useful Concepts

Even though I write for this neuroscience-focused blog, I know little about neuroscience, as my PhD research is in the cell cycle, a completely different field of biology. This month, I challenged myself to relate my PhD research about the cell cycle to neuroscience. I will present three concepts from the cell-cycle field: irreversible transitions, checkpoints, and multi-purpose proteins, and explain their potential usefulness for neuroscience.

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Neurotalk seeking a new host

As many Stanford community members know, my advisor, Stephen Smith is leaving to work at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle WA.  I will also be moving with him to work at the Allen Institute starting most likely next fall.  Therefore, NeuroTalk is in need of a new host next year.  We would like to invite anyone who is interested to contact me at

In order to encourage people to consider taking on this role and to express my appreciation for the opportunity, I’d like to take a moment to express what a pleasure it has been to do this show.

First and foremost, although it is my voice you usually hear, Erica, Mark and I work as a team to put this show together.  The three of us collaborate on doing research on the speaker’s background and putting together questions that we hope will illicit some interesting stories from our guests.  Erica in particular does a tremendous amount of the heavy lifting, not only with question development, but also by doing the bulk of the editing, including subtracting out many of the awkward UM’s and stumbles of my speech. Erica and Mark will continue to be a part of the show next year, and so whoever steps in to host will continue to have their amazing support.

Second, for me, this has been an amazing opportunity to meet and chat with a wide variety of important neuroscientists, all of whom are pretty interesting people.  Over the course of the 30 or so interviews we have done so far, I have gained a greater appreciation for the breadth and variety of research that is relevant to our understanding of the brain.  It has also given me a taste of how truly diverse the trajectories of scientists are… not only through their science, but through their lives.  Hearing about unemployed and reformed rocker Jeff Isaacson cold calling Dick Tsien in his office at Yale, or hearing about Yishi Jin growing up during the Cultural Revolution, looking for even partial pages of textbooks to learn about science, has been tremendously interesting and really inspiring.

So, I encourage anyone who thinks they may be interested in this position to get in touch with me. 

Metchnikoff and the starfish: how simple creatures revealed the secrets of the immune system

Have you thought about your immune system recently? Did it let you down over the holidays and leave you sniffling? Are you thinking of ways that you could boost your immunity? Are you drinking probiotic yoghurt drinks to support your friendly bacteria?

We take the idea of the immune system for granted today, so it may surprise you to learn that less than 200 years ago, most people didn’t realise the body had any natural defences against disease.

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