Mission Statement

The goal of NeuWrite West is to create a forum in which scientists interested in writing and writers interested in science can come together to share and critique one another’s work, with a focus on writing about science for a general audience. Our goal is to develop our ability to engagingly convey complex ideas without sacrificing either scientific accuracy or successful communication. In particular, we would like to focus on effectively communicating not only scientific knowledge but also to convey the practice of science as a process of discovery.


The core of this group is an evening writer’s workshop, which meets biweekly (semi-monthly) to discuss and critique one another’s writing. Up to two group members per session contribute writing samples, which are read ahead of the meeting and then discussed by the group at large. In order to facilitate effective feedback, the author is expected not to participate in the discussion of their own work, but merely to listen and take notes. The same piece should not be brought to the group more than once, even following revisions.

Guest Speakers

We invite local professionals 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. In the future we hope to expand these initiatives to promote wider engagement of science and society, through public talks, interviews, and debates.


The Neuroblog is NeuWrite West's in-house publication platform. Authors affiliated with NeuWrite West are invited to 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.

NeuroTalk Podcast

Each week, SNI (the Stanford Neurosciences Institute) invites a prominent scientist to come to campus and share their most recent work with the Stanford community. Each week we engage the SNI speaker 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.


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. 

Get involved!

Subscribe to the Neuwrite listserv for announcements, updates, and meetings, and to share your own ideas.

For more on NeuWrite West, visit our Facebook page, or email us at neuwritewest@gmail.com


Who We Are

NeuWrite West Executive Board

Sammy Katta (Co-President, 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, 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.

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.

Ada Yee (NeuWrite West Podcast Coordinator)

Whitney Ellen Heavner (Workshop Coordinator)

Kristin Muench


Neuroblog Contributing Authors

Authors who have contributed to the Neuroblog include:

Astra Bryant; Jennifer Esch; Devika Garg; Whitney Ellen Heavner; Samata Katta; Becca Krock; Talia Lerner; David Lipton; Alisa Moskaleva; Meryl Rafferty; Erica Seigneur; Jordan Sorokin; Kristin Muench; Marlieke van Kesteren; Ada Yee; Kelly Zalocusky; as well as additional members of the Stanford Neurosciences PhD Program


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)