NeuWrite West is a group of scientists interested in writing and writers interested in science, whose mission is to make neuroscience accessible to anyone curious about the brain. We pursue this mission by publishing scientific stories that everybody can engage with, regardless of their scientific expertise, and hosting workshops to teach other scientists how to communicate their work. We are always working to develop our ability to convey complex ideas without sacrificing either scientific accuracy or readability. Our ideal is to effectively communicate not only scientific knowledge but also the practice of science as a process of discovery.
The core of this group is an evening writers’ salon, which meets once a month to develop pieces for publication on the NeuWrite West blog and beyond. This group is intended to serve as a forum to discuss and critique each other’s writing so as to hone our ability to communicate science to non-scientists. It also serves as a support system for those who wish to publish their work or become better science writers. For more information, contact Isabel (email@example.com).
Workshops and guest speakers
Each month, we host a writing workshop to teach the scientific community how to effectively communicate their work to a lay audience. In these sessions we share tips and tricks of the trade, engage in short exercises to hone our craft, and swap ideas with fellow science writers. We often invite local professionals to these workshops to discuss the craft of writing and to share their experiences in the writing industry. In the past, we have spoken to writers from high profile science publications such as Science and Wired, as well as science writing lecturers in the Stanford community. For more information, contact Arielle (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Neuroblog is NeuWrite West's in-house publication platform. Here, our authors, many of whom are neuroscience graduate students, share their unique perspectives on neuroscience, science, and popular culture with fellow scientists, people considering scientific careers or education (particularly at Stanford University), and the general public. Readers will, for the most part, find posts that address specific topics in neuroscience; most will be accessible to a wide range of audiences, although some will be specifically directed towards the Stanford scientific community. For more information, contact Kristin (email@example.com).
Our podcast team produces neuroscience-related podcasts to share stories and research with the broader community. For example, our NeuroTalk Podcast interviews scientists in collaboration the WTNI (the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford University). Each week, WTNI invites a prominent scientist to share their recent work with the Stanford community. We interview each scientist in an informal interview/conversation, with the aim of gaining a better insight into the speaker’s personality, and providing a platform for the kinds of stories which are of interest to us but are often left out of more formal papers or presentations. For more information, contact Kei (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Manasi (email@example.com).
The posts on the Neuroblog, and the NeuroTalk podcasts represent the personal views of their respective authors and participants. They are not intended to be official statements from the Stanford Neurosciences Program, or Stanford University. In addition, the discussions of authors and affiliates that are posted to the Neuroblog/NeuroTalk are not intended as medical advice.
Subscribe to the Neuwrite listserv for announcements, updates, and meetings, and to share your own ideas.
Who We Are
NeuWrite West Executive Board
Arielle Keller (Co-President, Workshop Coordinator) is a neuroscience graduate student working in the Williams PanLab. She is investigating how the human brain directs attention toward its goals despite abundant distractions (squirrel!) and how this process can go awry with mental illness. Arielle loves reading, writing, and editing pieces for the NeuroBlog, as well as learning from real-life science writers through our workshop series. Outside of telling anyone who will listen about how cool the brain is, Arielle can be found procrasti-baking cupcakes, skiing all around Lake Tahoe, and visiting her favorite hedgehogs at the local zoo.
Isabel Low (Co-President, Writing Coordinator) is a neuroscience graduate student in Lisa Giocomo’s lab, where she uses virtual reality to study how our mood impacts cognitive processing. When she’s not wrangling mice to play video games, Isabel enjoys writing fiction and non-fiction, climbing things, and cooking for her friends and roommates. Her passion is introducing non-scientists to all the excitement, chaos, and wonder behind scientific progress.
Manasi Iyer (Podcast Coordinator, Blog Editor) is a neuroscience PhD student in Brad Zuchero’s lab. She studies the biology of non-neuronal brain cells (glia!) and how they contribute to brain function. In NeuWrite West, Manasi works as a part of both the podcast and editing teams. Outside of lab and science writing, Manasi loves to cook and has made it her personal goal to meet every dog on Stanford’s campus.
Kei Masuda (Podcast Coordinator, Slack Master) is an MD/PhD neuroscience student in Lisa Giocomo’s lab. He studies the effect of drugs on spatial navigation and memory. Kei enjoys talking about big breakthroughs to come in neuroscience and neurology. Outside of science, he enjoys excessively drinking coffee, listening to podcasts at 1.5x speed, analyzing his cats’ strange behaviors, and swimming outdoors.
Erica Seigneur (NeuroTalk Podcast, Executive Producer) is a graduate student in Tom Sudhof’s lab, where she studies the role of neuronal cell adhesion molecules in synapse formation and function. Erica is interested in both fiction and non-fiction science writing. Erica currently masterminds our NeuroTalk series and other podcasting initiatives.
NeuWrite Team members
NeuroBlog Editors: Ellie Beam; Grace Huckins; Manasi Iyer; Samata Katta; Arielle Keller; Isabel Low; Kei Masuda; Kristin Meunch; Erica Seigneur
Podcasters: Grace Huckins, Manasi Iyer; Kei Masuda; Erica Seigneur
Contributing Authors: All of the above NeuWriters and many, many more members of the Stanford Neurosciences PhD Program community contribute to our NeuroBlog.
NeuWrite West Alumni
David Bochner (President Emeritus) is a graduate of the Stanford Neuroscience PhD program in the lab of Dr. Carla Shatz. He studies the molecules that regulate cortical plasticity during and after critical periods and hopes to one day contribute to a drug that will make it as easy to learn at 50 as it is at 5. He’s also been writing about science since roughly age 5, when he penned the Star Wars/immunology crossover epic The Virus Strikes Back with construction paper and crayons. In his spare time, he enjoys curling up with a good book, exploring the hidden beautiful places of the bay area, and sampling its wide range of delicious beer, wine, and food.
Nick Weiler (Founder, President Emeritus) is a graduate of the Stanford Neuroscience PhD program. For his dissertation research, he studied the effects of sensory plasticity on the synaptic molecular architecture of the mouse neocortex. In addition to his interest in the brain he has always been passionate about words, their power, their histories, and their foibles. He is a founding member of NeuWrite-West, a science writing group at the Stanford School of Medicine dedicated to improving communication between science and society one paragraph at a time. He has been a contributor to the NeuroBlog since 2010. When not analyzing synapses or diagramming sentences, Nick can be found bicycling, juggling, climbing trees, or declaiming Shakespeare.
Astra Bryant (Emeritus Webmaster, Senior Blog Editor) is a graduate of the Stanford Neuroscience PhD program in the labs of Drs. Eric Knudsen and John Huguenard. She used in vitro slice electrophysiology to study the cellular and synaptic mechanisms linking cholinergic signaling and gamma oscillations – two processes critical for the control of gaze and attention, which are disrupted in many psychiatric disorders. Astra is the founder of the Stanford Neuroblog, and was the senior handler of the @stanfordneuro twitter feed.
Mary Cavanagh (CFO, Blog Editor)
Sammy Katta (Co-President Emeritus, Financial Officer) is a Neuroscience PhD student in Miriam Goodman's lab. She studies the molecules we think are the first responders in the sense of touch, and thinks C. elegans is kind of cute. Sammy enjoys convincing people that what she thinks is really cool and awesome about science is actually really cool and awesome. Outside of science, she enjoys martial arts, dancing, and exploring new places with camera in hand.
David Lipton (Co-President Emeritus, Outreach Coordinator) is a graduate student in the Shen lab. David is passionate about communicating science, especially to non-scientists. He is also interested in how neuroscientific findings can be applied in the education and public policy realms and is coordinating our community outreach efforts.
Ada Yee (NeuWrite West Podcast Coordinator)
Whitney Ellen Heavner (Workshop Coordinator)
Kristin Muench (Journal Club Editor, Senior Blog Editor) did her thesis work in the lab of Dr. Theo Palmer. She used mice, stem cells, and computers to study the impact of autism risk factors in the fetal brain. In addition to her years of editing for NeuWrite West, she has offered several workshops on science communication, including a short Intersession course at The Nueva School, and a grantsmanship tutorial for Neurosciences graduate students. She enjoys sharing tea, jogging slowly, and introducing others to the miracle of the developing brain.