Illustration of a series of squares containing distinct patterns.

Can an emerging field called ‘neural systems understanding’ explain the brain?

This mashup of neuroscience, artificial intelligence and even linguistics and philosophy of mind aims to crack the deep question of what "understanding" is, however un-brain-like its models may be.

By George Musser
5 June 2024 | 21 min listen

Dancing in the dark: Honeybees use antennae to decode nestmates’ waggles

The insects align their antennae with their body’s angle to a dancer—information that vector-processing circuitry in the brain deciphers into a flight path, a new study suggests.

By Shaena Montanari
3 April 2024 | 0 min watch
A photograph of a crab

In hot water: Climate change tests limits of neuronal resilience in crabs

Warming seas disrupt the function of neurons — and could seed permanent changes in marine species, according to studies of a circuit that controls digestion in crustaceans.

By Angie Voyles Askham
12 February 2024 | 7 min read
An abstract illustration of a figure from the shoulders up with multi-colored boxes on its face

What ‘drifting representations’ reveal about the brain

How neuronal activity patterns associated with a behavior can change, even when the behavior does not — something once seen as an experimental artifact — could offer new insights about neural function.

By Angie Voyles Askham
13 December 2023 | 8 min read
Research image of brain activity during conversation.
Modeling Microphone

AI model helps decode brain activity underlying conversation

A text-predicting chatbot parses text from conversations in a way that parallels brain-activity patterns associated with speech production and comprehension.

By Alla Katsnelson
15 June 2023 | 6 min listen
Graham Diering smiles in a portrait in his yard.
Modeling Microphone

Asleep in the Mouse House with Graham Diering

Memories from Diering’s life trace the rising star’s scientific path from raising lizards as a child and later exploring home brewing to heading a lab that investigates memory, sleep disturbances and early development in animals with autism-linked mutations.

By Peter Hess
12 January 2023 | 17 min listen
Helen Willsey in her lab at the University of California, San Francisco.

How Helen Willsey broke new ground, frogs in hand

A young researcher faces down the skeptics.

By Grace Huckins
29 November 2022 | 13 min read
Researcher stands in spotlight that is the shape of a monkey's head.

Why monkey researchers are seeking the spotlight: Q&A with Cory Miller

For decades, many researchers who study nonhuman primates kept quiet about their work, concerned about the extreme actions taken by some animal welfare activists. But a growing number are speaking more openly about the importance of their work in an attempt to take back the narrative.

By Angie Voyles Askham
25 May 2022 | 7 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Brain organoid size matches intensity of social problems in autistic people

Overgrown organoids could point to mechanisms underlying profound autism.

By Holly Barker
18 July 2024 | 5 min read

Persistent protein pairing enables memories to last

The complex of two memory proteins, rather than the individual molecules acting independently, underlie month-long memories in mice, a new study suggests.

By Elissa Welle
17 July 2024 | 5 min read
A digitally distorted image of a file folder against a blue gradient background.

Data access changes to UK Biobank stir unease in neuroscientists

“I feel a little bit in limbo,” says neuroscientist Stephanie Noble, who has paused a study using Biobank data after the repository shifted from a data download to a cloud-only access model.

By Calli McMurray
16 July 2024 | 7 min read