Neurobiology

Category archives for Neurobiology

Mice on Camera

Take a bunch of peculiar individuals, put them all together in one setting; film their every move, every second of the day. Sound familiar? Dr. Tali Kimchi is explicit about the resemblance of her experiments to a well-known reality TV show. The difference, of course, is that Kimchi’s subjects are mice. She places large groups…

To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day. Lao Tsu Apparently our nervous systems develop according to the Chinese philosopher’s principle of being and not being. As our nerve cells grow, they send out long extensions – axons – throughout the developing tissues. And as they reach out, some…

When we navigate through our environment, do we track mostly in two dimensions or in three? Clearly, we can move in all three dimensions, but does our internal map relate to the vertical direction in the same way as it does to the horizontal axes on the ground? That question has not yet been definitively…

What’s that Smell?

Weizmann Institute scientists have created a “white smell.” Think about white light or white noise: Each mixes a bunch of different waves together from various parts of the visual or audible spectrum. Those wavelengths combine such that we perceive that unobtrusive light or sound we call “white.” How do smells fit into this scenario? Prof.…

What a Rat Feels

We have been told what it’s like to be a bat or a bird; now Prof. Ehud Ahissar and Dr. Avi Saig are getting people to experience what it’s like to be a rat. Specifically, they want the participants in their studies to learn what it’s like to locate things in the dark by twitching…

While You Were Sleeping

“Imagine that you wake up in the morning feeling nothing special, yet you find yourself inexplicably behaving just a bit differently during the day. For example, you take a sniff every time you hear a tone,” says Prof. Noam Sobel. Of course, the people this actually happened to knew they had volunteered for a sleep…

Blurring, chopping and blocking. Three online items this week all deal with some pretty dynamic phenomena. The blurring is in our perceptions. It turns out that if you even think you have lost money in an experiment, your ability to distinguish between musical notes will be hampered. What’s the connection? Dr. Rony Paz has been…

The actors on the stage work their magic, turning a few disparate phrases – “challenge, giving birth, infinity, chaos, visiting a new country” – into a brief but charming improvised sketch, to the delight of the audience. But the viewers, filling a large auditorium at the Weizmann Institute of Science, expect more than to be…

This week’s new Weizmann science stories are on ants and bats. Two different models for investigating human behavior? Yes, but not exactly in the ways you might imagine, and so much more than that. Dr. Ofer Feinerman, the “ant scientist,” is a new member of the Physics Faculty. In his graduate research under Prof. Elisha…

Every Smell Has Its Place

The olfactory membranes in your nose are densely packed with smell receptors. These receptors come in some 400 different subtypes; complex odors like that of rose petals can waft around 175 distinct kinds of odor molecules in the direction of your nose. In other words, the number of discrete odors we can perceive runs to…