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Recently a crew from BBC Horizon came to the lab I toil in as a graduate student to film this clip for a program they titled, “What Makes a Genius”.  They wanted to film a knockout mouse a postdoc in the lab created, and that I happen to be doing my thesis work on.  This mouse is missing a gene that is important for proper growth of neurons.  Some of my work, and others, has shown that it has trouble forming connections in its brain during development.  This is why we think it is not a great learner.  However, the way this clip explains the research, I’d want to give my boss, Elly, a Nobel Prize for finding THE intelligence gene.  So let’s go through this clip’s weak and strong points. Read the rest of this entry »


Slide of "Defendant's" Damaged Frontal Lobe (Top: Normal, Bottom: Damaged)

The judge sits at the front of the room.  He has a distinguished look, graying at the temples, and a commanding air.  Glasses perched on the tip of his nose, he addresses the room, “The Bailiff will excuse the jury at this time.”  And as he waves his hand dismissively at the jury, the audience breaks out in titters of laughter.

This is not actually a courtroom, and the judge isn’t wearing robes.  Instead, this is room 2 in the San Diego Convention Center and it is this morning’s session, The Brain on Trial: Neuroscience Evidence in the Courtroom, at the AAAS 2010 meeting.  The judge is a real judge, the Honorable Luis A. Rodriguez, from the Superior Court of California in Orange County.  The session however, is not your normal scientific meeting, and boy is it refreshing and eye-opening. Read the rest of this entry »

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