I can still vividly remember the first time I held a human brain in my hands.
I was a first-year medical student, and all I could think was, “Wow, this person’s entire life, memories and experience in these few pounds. And thanks to their generosity, I now get to learn how it’s all connected, how it all works.”
Just about 30 years later, I hope that readers will feel the same sense of excitement and curiosity about the first time they laid eyes on — or listened to — what you’re holding in your hands or on your screens: The Transmitter, a new publication focused on informing the broad community of neuroscientists about noteworthy developments, challenges and unanswered questions in the field.
Our goal for The Transmitter is ambitious but clear. We aspire to become an essential resource for neuroscientists at all career stages, and to help them stay current and build connections. The publication aims to deliver insights and tools to build bridges across neuroscience and propel research forward.
The Transmitter’s name reflects our vision. Our goal: To become a place for flourishing collaborations, where the neuroscience community will be transmitting ideas. The repeated half circles in our logo reflect the neural pulse that occurs in the brain when we have an idea — and when those pulses expand like ripples in a lake as we share that idea and it meets others.
Much as eukaryotic cells evolved to incorporate — and draw power from — previously independent organisms we now call mitochondria, The Transmitter represents a natural evolution for Spectrum, the award-winning publication that has covered autism research for the past 15 years. Spectrum remains a key part of The Transmitter and will continue to publish news and perspectives about autism research. We are confident that our loyal and supportive Spectrum readership will find value and insight in our new expanded coverage, and make even more connections scientifically and professionally.
And like Spectrum, The Transmitter is supported by but editorially independent of the Simons Foundation, which continues to undergo its own deliberative evolution in neuroscience.
A core group of contributing editors from leading institutions is also helping to shape the content and contribute editorially. The new website’s clean and dynamic design provides a smooth and engaging experience, reflecting The Transmitter’s high standards — with best practices for accessibility front and center. Just as Spectrum has led the way among trade publications in commissioning original, diverse and thought-provoking art, The Transmitter will continue to inspire readers visually.
And speaking of inspiration, our inaugural “edition” includes essays and articles on a range of topics, from how cancer hijacks the nervous system to seed tumors, metastasize and even resist therapy; to how neural implants to treat epilepsy are revealing secrets about real-world recall; and how some neuroscientists are redirecting their analytic skills to tackle the existential problem of climate change. It also features an interview with Nobel prize winner Ardem Patapoutian on our exclusive “Synaptic” podcast; a video tour of the custom fly-releasing “PEZ dispenser” and mini-IMAX theater scientists are using to map out — neuron by neuron — how individual insects respond to an imaginary predator; and a photo gallery of people with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease describing in their own words why they participate in clinical studies.
I invite you to explore the new website and share your thoughts at [email protected]. Your feedback is invaluable to us as we keep rolling out exciting new site features over the coming months and publishing new stories. We also invite neuroscientists to become contributors and publish their essays and opinion pieces.