Of nerves and brains

How do we see? How do injured nerves heal? Why do we sleep? Welcome to the Bluesci Neuroscience blog, where we will ponder these questions and more!

My name is Amelia Joy Thompson, and I’ll be helping to run this blog with Dr. Helene Gautier, with whom I share a laboratory, an interest in the nervous system, and a passion for communicating science to the public. Helene will introduce herself soon; for now I’ll tell you about my own research in neuroscience and our plans for the blog.

For my PhD, I’m studying the effects of physics on the wiring of the developing brain. I’ve always been fascinated by how an embryo, at the very beginning of life, can build a working brain and nervous system from scratch. We already know that for this to happen, nerve cells must send out long protrusions, called axons, which grow towards other cells elsewhere in the body. The axons connect cells and their partners, acting like a network of telegraph wires and helping them communicate. While we know a lot about the chemical signals that guide growing axons, we know far less about how axons navigate the varying physical environments they encounter. I hope to find out more about this in the next few years!

So what can you expect from us? Helene and I will give commentary on the advances in neuroscience that excite and inspire us, both cutting-edge work and classic studies that helped define the field. Since neuroscience also intersects with other areas of inquiry, there will be room for wider philosophical musing as well.

We’ll take turns to post, about once a week; we’re also planning to host a few guest writers once the blog is established. We would love to hear from you as well: if you’d like to start a discussion, send us an interesting paper, or suggest a guest blogger, please do chat to us in the comments below!

Until next time,

Joy.

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