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Neuroscience [clear filter]
Tuesday, December 6
 

10:15am

Creative Interpretations: Understanding The Science In Popular Culture
What makes us tick? This is a question that has haunted humankind for millennia. Several popular culture books have captivated audiences offering explanations for our human behavior. Some works delve more specifically into how to stop bad habits, or how to obtain desired behaviors such as creative thinking. Kevin Ashton’s How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery was selected as the summer reader for all 2016 incoming freshman at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. The work offers an alternative view into the creative process, and submits social, biological, and neurological evidence of how creativity really works. Ashton interweaves science and storytelling into his advice on how to approach the creative process. When science is conveyed to the public there are often areas of miscommunication, misrepresentation, and bias, yet these issues are seldom discussed. To better understand how science is being represented in popular culture, a critical review of Ashton’s work was conducted, and several sources were reanalyzed and compared to Ashton’s interpretations. Further literature into the systemic balance of novelty and uncertainty from the neurological aspect is explored in order to 1) clarify the currently accepted relationships of creativity, uncertainty, familiarity, novelty, and emotional and physical pain; 2) illuminate what is currently understood about the ability to recognize and respond to both novel and familiar situations; and 3) explore if emotional and physical pain are neurologically linked.

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Tuesday December 6, 2016 10:15am - 12:00pm
Wilma Sherrill Center - Concourse

10:15am

Developing Patch Clamp Analysis Techniques To Deorphanize VSNRs
Major urinary proteins (MUPs) are a class of species-specific pheromones that have been found to produce consistent and specific behavioral responses in mice independent of prior conditioning. MUPs are detected through an accessory olfactory system known as the vomeronasal organ, which expresses sensory receptors (VSNRs) designed for MUP binding. Here the activity of VNSRs is intended to be studied using patch clamp analysis by recording VNSR activation upon exposure to specific MUPs as evidenced by voltage change. HEK 293 cells will be transfected to express VNSRs for analysis. The current primary goal includes developing efficient transfection protocol and patch clamp procedure. This research is proposed to allow for the future tracing of synaptic projections throughout the brain beginning with VSNR activation, providing insight into the neurological basis of behavioral reactions.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 10:15am - 12:00pm
Wilma Sherrill Center - Concourse

10:15am

Do We Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep?
Once in awhile headlines will pop up in the news prompted by newly discovered side effects of sleep deprivation or new methods of catching up on sleep, because, as news Anchors will sigh, “People aren’t getting their eight hours of sleep.” We want to look at how eight hours of sleep came to be widely acknowledged as the healthy amount of sleep for an adult, and the neuroscience behind that claim. Sleep studies and a growing understanding of the brain highlighted just how important sleep was to our functionality. It’s been shown that our bodies need sleep, more than even food as, while it takes two weeks to starve to death, ten days without sleep can kill you. Why do we need sleep so badly, and more importantly to our interest, why eight hours? In a society that keeps demanding so much of our time, the facts behind “Needing our eight hours” are increasingly important.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 10:15am - 12:00pm
Wilma Sherrill Center - Concourse

10:15am

Does Playing chess improve cognitive abilities?
Chess is a world-renowned board game, that involves strategic ability to overcome an opponent, and is often considered a battle of intellect. There is evidence to suggest that chess positively impacts upon your brain’s ability to retain information or to think critically about a specific subject. Even in popular culture there are many depictions that indicate that chess boasts intelligence, such as a recurring scene in X-men where the two main characters, who are portrayed as the most intelligent, are discussing their strategies over a game of chess. Chess was also used as propaganda by the Russians against the U.S. in the Cold War, claiming to have superior intelligence due to their brilliant chess players. Whether it be in a laboratory or in movies, chess’ influence on the brain and in the world has shown to be great. But does this really affect your brain? Is the game in any way helpful in allowing you to learn faster? Here we explore published studies to investigate whether chess has been shown to assist people in school.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 10:15am - 12:00pm
Wilma Sherrill Center - Concourse

10:15am

Effects Of Hormone Treatments On Major Urinary Protein (MUP) Expression In AML12 Hepatocytes
Many social behaviors in mice, such as aggression, mating and territorial marking, are mediated by the major urinary proteins (MUPs) present in their urine. While the mouse genome codes for 21 MUPs, any given male mouse only expresses a subset of these proteins at a defined concentration. Mice are able to detect the identity and concentration of the MUPs they encounter, and as such, these proteins appear to act as an “individuality signal.” However, how a unique subset of MUPs is chosen for expression remains largely unknown. This study focuses on the control of gene expression of the 21 MUP genes, consisting of the highly similar “central” MUPs and the variable, divergent “peripheral” MUPs. Using hormone treatments on a cultured liver cell line, the expression of MUPs can be induced and studied, which allows for the manipulation of regulatory mechanisms. In an effort to understand the mechanisms controlling MUP choice and expression, this study explores the role that testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and growth hormone treatments play in AML12 male hepatocytes. Utilizing RNA isolation, cDNA synthesis, and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), the effects of these hormones on MUP expression were analyzed and studied using gel electrophoresis. Because of their complex expression patterns, the MUPs serve as a good model system to study long standing molecular biology questions regarding mechanisms controlling gene expression.

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Tuesday December 6, 2016 10:15am - 12:00pm
Wilma Sherrill Center - Concourse

10:15am

Mental Illness Portrayed in Art
Neuroscience is represented in popular culture in a multitude of ways. Through movies, music, television, art, and books we can obtain a deeper understanding of how society believes the human brain works. Though these representations might not be accurate to true neuroscience, we can decipher what aspects of it are true and what are not. These discrepancies in the portrayals are also good clues as to what life was like and what science was at the time of their creation. Here we explore how depression is portrayed in art through different artists’ interpretations. By comparing the different ways depression is depicted by various artists’ artwork we hope to get a better understanding of how the time period and experiences of the artist shaped their understanding of mental health. We’ll be comparing two paintings that were made by artists who had depression. The first painting is by Edvard Munch titled The Scream and the second painting is by Vincent Van Gogh, a portrait he painted of himself with a bandage over his ear. These two paintings show how painters can express the same emotions, but very differently. We will be looking into how their depression was exhibited in their paintings and how true of a depiction it is of neuroscience. We will also explore the circumstance of their experience with depression and compare them to determine if the manifestation of the illness is different based on what caused it.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 10:15am - 12:00pm
Wilma Sherrill Center - Concourse

10:15am

Neil Harbisson’s Eyeborg
Technology has permeated everyday life at an ever-increasing pace, but neuroscience has taken the spotlight. Avant-garde artist Neil Harbisson is the perfect example of this change, as he holds the title of first legally recognized cyborg in human history. Born with total greyscale vision, he sought to correct his vision by implanting a cybernetic appendage, resembling an angler fish’s esca, which translates infrared waves into audible tones that he has learned to associate with color. Harbisson is also the cofounder of the Cyborg Foundation which aims to protect and support future cyborgs worldwide. Neil Harbisson’s implant does much more than inform an artist of the vast spectrum of colors, it also has a much wider function in introducing humanity to a vast number of possibilities in the fields of augmentation and implants, and their subsequent impact on society. Questions will arise concerning these bodily modifications like: how are implants to be regulated, can the enhanced compete with the original humans, when is a person more machine than human or even human at all, what will be the reaction to visible implants, do cyborgs have the same rights as original humans? In this project, we intend to focus our investigations into five broad categories that are intended to expand upon and postulate the outcomes of many of the questions presented above. These fields of interest include: legislation, society, the arts, ethics, and science. Neil Harbisson is the only of his kind today, but the discussion of augmented humans must be seriously considered for the not-to-far-off future.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 10:15am - 12:00pm
Wilma Sherrill Center - Concourse

10:15am

The Science Behind Online Student’s Tips
As college students in 2016, we are inundated with a myriad of infographics and articles brimming with study tips that promise to boost test scores and memory retention. Yet few of these articles cite any scientific studies, leading us to ask if there is any actual science behind their claims. Some tips such as eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly have been around for years and have become part of common knowledge. Others, however, are rather new and radical. Does meditation and prayer boost our brain function? Can it be possible that the best time of day to study is 4­6 am? In this presentation we will explore whether or not science supports these different tips including whether time of day and oxygen levels affect study effectiveness; whether diet, exercise, sleep, and hydration boost brain function; and if meditation and certain foods guarantee an A.

Speakers
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Tuesday December 6, 2016 10:15am - 12:00pm
Wilma Sherrill Center - Concourse