Varying concentrations of a signaling molecule activate different transcription factors and determine cell fate.
Illustrates how studying one family's pedigree can reveal an entire history of passing on a genetic disorder such as SCA1.
The growth cone of a neuron avoids repellant molecules and navigates to innervate the appropriate muscle.
Prialt does not block the mammalian motor synapse, but blocks the pain pathway in the spinal cord.
Prialt, a drug derived from cone snail venom, paralyzes fish by blocking calcium channels at a motor synapse.
Neurons in the cortical area 5 are active when a cat is straddling an obstacle.
Multiple cone snail toxins attack different molecules of the nervous system and cause paralysis.
Electrical and chemical signals are used by neurons to communicate with one another at contact points called synapses.
Long-term memory requires the activation of CREB, turning on specific genes that support new synaptic growth.
A dramatic illustration of how hearing happens in the ear.
The fetal brain grows enormously during pregnancy, both in terms of its size and the number of neurons it has.
Early LTP (short-term memory) depends on a calcium-dependent protein kinase to strengthen an existing synapse.
Late LTP (long-term memory) involves dopamine activation of CREB to support new synaptic growth.
Illustrates how providing leptin to an obese mouse rapidly rewires its hypothalamus neurons.
Some cone snail toxins chemically hyperactivate neurons and immobilize prey, much like a Taser.
Aplysia californica is a marine snail with a simple nervous system suitable for research on learning and memory.
A touch to the Aplysia's siphon causes a gill withdrawal, a simple reflex for studying memory.
A live recording of muscle activity from Dr. Jessell's biceps and triceps muscles.
Even when distracted by food, the cat's brain encodes and retains the location of an obstacle.
Dr. Jessell's leg muscle activation patterns are recorded during walking.
A patient can both comprehend and articulate language, but cannot verbalize what is a clear idea in her mind.
A growth cone contacts a repellant molecule on another axon, collapses, and withdraws.
This species of cone snail immobilizes its prey in a split second with lightning-strike cabal toxins.
Larger cone snails produce more venom and are more dangerous to human beings in an accidental stinging.
The growth cones of two neurons sense and interact with one another.
In the absence of proprioceptive feedback, some individuals can compensate by using visual feedback.
Electrical activity recorded from the leg muscles reveals different patterns of activation during different gaits.
An interview with Dr. Kandel.
Retinal axons travel across the brain, reading navigation cues, to find appropriate targets.
An interview with Dr. Michael McIntosh, who discovered the drug Prialt while working as an undergraduate in Dr. Olivera's lab.
Mice can be trained to use spatial cues to navigate a maze that tests their ability to remember specific locations.
Kangaroo-like hopping when spinal cord excitatory interneurons cross the midline to stimulate both sides.
The average person has no difficulty raising a coffee mug.
Genetically engineered mice lacking proprioceptive sensory axons are not capable of well-coordinated walking.
A knee-jerk reflex depends on a simple circuit of proprioceptive sensory neurons and spinal motor neurons.
Dr. Zoghbi demonstrates how mice that have been given the gene responsible for spinocerebellar ataxia 1 (SCA1) are tested on a device called a rotarod to quantify the amount of ataxia present.
A reduction in the level of sonic hedgehog (SHH) gene expression can lead to cyclopia.
Even without visual feedback, we are able to negotiate an obstacle using spatial memory.
Dr. Huda Zoghbi interviews Milan Cloud, a patient who has inherited the neurological disorder spinocerebellar ataxia 1, or SCA1.
Proprioceptive feedback makes it easy to touch one's thumb to one's fingers without looking.
Dr. Jason Biggs of the University of Guam Marine Laboratory discusses the anatomy of cone snails and introduces us to a variety of cone snail species with different tactics to hunt and capture their prey.
Dr. Harshad Vishwasrao guides you through a collection of images showing neuronal growth and synaptic formation representative of anatomical changes that occur during learning.
In a giraffe's walk, left and right limbs move alternately, while in a kangaroo's hop, opposing limbs move together.
In the absence of proprioception and visual feedback, it is impossible to touch thumb to fingers accurately.
Even though Clive Wearing cannot remember people or events, his piano-playing skills are intact.
Clive Wearing has lost his ability to remember and lives in a perpetual state of having just awoken.
A person with a disease that kills proprioceptive neurons has severe problems with the simplest of movements.
An interview with Dr. Laskaro Zagoraiou, a post-doctoral student in Thomas Jessell's lab.
What medical secrets do venomous snails hold? How can listening in on bacterial conversations help develop new antibiotics? In four presentations, Dr. Bonnie L. Bassler and Dr. Baldomero M. Olivera reveal how a deeper understanding of nature and biodiversity informs their research into new...
Venomous carniverous cone snails are a rich source of molecules for scientific research and potential drug development.
Cone snails have evolved many different toxins for different uses. Total molecular biodiversity may number in the millions.
In this ten-minute Q&A session, Dr. Olivera answers questions on cone snail behavior, venoms, and biodiversity.
What is mind? Can molecular biology help us understand mental function?
The history of localization of function in the brain, and research that led to the understanding of localization of memory.
How a nerve cell gets its identity, sends axons, and makes connections with other cells.
Understanding the neural circuits in the spinal cord that control movement.
The cellular and molecular nature of learning and memory, investigated in simpler sea slugs and more-complex mice.
The lecturers, joined by Dr. Kay Jamison of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Dr. Gerald Fischbach of the Simons Foundation, answer questions concerning autism, manic depression, and other mental illnesses.
As part of the 2003 Holiday Lectures on Science, Dr. Bert Vogelstein and Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi discuss how their patients have led to a deeper understanding of the genetic and molecular bases of neurological disorders and cancer. Thanks to these patients, researchers can now apply the knowledge...
Mutations in key genes can lay waste to the nervous system. By studying large families predisposed to developing these genetic disorders, scientists can identify the responsible altered gene.
Girls with Rett syndrome develop normally for about 18 months and then begin to regress. With the help of affected girls and their families, Dr. Zoghbi and her collaborators searched for the gene responsible for this neurological disorder.
In four talks, A. James Hudspeth, MD, PhD, and Jeremy H. Nathans, MD, PhD, discuss how sensory information is encoded and transmitted to the brain. They describe the detailed workings of two senses of great importance to humans—vision and hearing.
Dr. Hudspeth will begin by discussing how simple organisms—such as bacteria—have the capacity to detect and react to a stimulus.
Dr. Nathans will discuss how the visual process involves the detection of light by photo-receptors in the retina.
Dr. Hudspeth will explain the basis for the ear’s remarkable ability to detect sound through the hair cell, the sensory receptor found in the inner ear.
Dr. Nathans will complete the lecture series by clarifying what is known about the brain’s ability to process and integrate various elements of the visual system, such as color, motion, and depth.
Dr. Friedman shows how leptin rewires neural circuits, and how population studies may identify obesity genes.
Dr. Joseph Takahashi takes us on an exciting journey into a very special region of the brain—the biological clock that governs our physiology and certain behaviors.
In this virtual lab, you will record electrical activities of individual neurons, identify by response to stimuli, and use dyes to visualize their morphology.
Different gaits employed by animals and how the nervous system is able to switch between them.
Measuring neuronal activity, generating action potentials, and recording the firing of individual neurons.
To accompany the lecture series Making Your Mind: Molecules, Motion, and Memory.
This activity uses the planaria's property for regeneration and compares how long it takes for planaria cut in different places to regenerate a head.
A text transcript of the 2008 Holiday Lectures on Science, Making Your Mind: Molecules, Motion, and Memory.
A text transcript of the 2003 Holiday Lectures on Science, Learning From Patients: The Science of Medicine.
A chapter list to accompany the DVD.
A chapter list to accompany the DVD.
The poster from the 2008 Holiday Lectures on Science, Making Your Mind: Molecules, Motion, and Memory. It illustrates the structure and function of a neuron, including how it transmits electrical and chemical signals.
(This poster is designed to printed at a maximum size of 29.5...
Watch our lectures, video extras, and short films via our podcast channel.
A guide written for teachers to accompany the 1997 Holiday Lectures on Science.
In the 2013 Holiday Lectures on Science, leading medical researchers explain how advances in genomics are revolutionizing their work, leading to a better understanding of disease and to improved treatments.
A brochure from the 2013 Holiday Lectures on Science.
A weekly image selected from the striking imagery produced every day by scientists around the world.
One approach to understanding the brain is to reconstruct the shapes and connections of individual neurons.
The developing brain needs a constant source of new cells as it builds the circuits that will control behavior.
Recent advances in DNA sequencing technology have led to a better understanding of the many genes that play a role in brain development.
Over the past decade, the application of advanced DNA sequencing techniques has greatly increased our understanding of the genetic basis of autism.
Ms. Diaz discusses her family's emphasis on academics, how she discovered neuroscience, and describes a typical day in the lab.
Genes associated with autism affect the structure and function of neuronal synapses.
A new technique for making the brain transparent provides extremely detailed views of groups of neurons.
The arrangement of cells in the retina reveals how it detects, processes, and relays visual information to the brain.
A unique group of cells in the eye’s retina specifically detects the upward motion of objects, such as a ball thrown in the air or…fireworks.
Dr. Zoghbi introduces the topic of Rett syndrome by showing how development usually progresses in a young girl. She then shows an excerpt from ...
Dr. Zoghbi shows how a mouse that has been given the gene responsible for Rett syndrome exhibits some of the same neurological symptoms as human Rett patients.
Learn about the structure and function of this fascinating cellular machine.
Tracking the flight paths and speeds of fruit flies in a wind tunnel may help design better flying robots.