Brain & Behavior

Octopus-inspired robotic device

Speaking of octopuses, the ability for the animals to squeeze through narrow openings has inspired the creation of a new surgical robotic device that can squeeze into a patient’s body. An EU team created STIFFness controllable Flexible and Learnable manipulator for surgical OPerations, dubbed “STIFF-FLOP”, made from silicone. Unlike conventional robots used during surgeries, the…

New research shows how octopus skin is able to respond to variations in light

Ever wonder how flies navigate?

Dr. Vivek Jayaraman and colleagues at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus discovered that the ellipsoid body located in the middle of a fly’s brain acts like a compass to help navigate flight even in darkness. By placing the flies into a small virtual reality arena and having the flies walk on a…

Do food assistance programs deliver more than food and nutrition? Can relieving the stress of food insecurity provide positive psychological benefits as well? A new study says yes it can.

Many species of ants are known for being rather clean by disposing of their dead outside of the nest and placing other wastes, like bits of food, in refuse chambers. Dr. Tomer J. Czaczkes (University of Regensburg) was surprised therefore to see “dark patches” build up in plaster nests that housed black garden ants (Lasius niger).…

Students Experience the Field Trip of a Lifetime at the X-STEM Symposium!

This past Tuesday, over 3,500 students, in grades 6-12, traveled to the Washington D.C. Convention Center to engage in presentations and hands-on workshops from some of the most creative and inspiring minds in STEM at the 2nd X-STEM Symposium. Sponsored by MedImmune, the X-STEM Symposium featured over 30 speaker presentations from advanced luminaries in STEM…

Dr. Frank van Breukelen is an Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was invited to tell us about a new research project in this laboratory about some really cool mammals called tenrecs. Here is the post: In a recent post, Dr. Dolittle mentioned a talk…

In just a year, electronic cigarette use has tripled among American teens. And considering that no one really knows what the related health impacts are and any regulatory framework is lagging far behind the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, public health advocates say it’s time for action.

Nifty Fifty Podcast: The Franklin Institute’s Dr. Frederic Bertley Ignites Passion for Science

This Nifty Fifty Podcast features Dr. Frederic Bertley speaking to high school children about the availability of STEM jobs, how much science affects our lives, the promising future of transportation, drinking water, medicine, and genomic science, and some of the living scientists making an impact on our work.   Listen to the podcast and read…

Thanks to the federal School Breakfast Program, millions of low-income children have the opportunity to start the school day with a healthy meal. But does the program impact the brain as well as the belly? A new study finds that it does, with students at participating schools scoring higher in math, reading and science.