Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed



Inside the Mind of a Microbe

Crescent Loom, a neuroscience game invented by Wick Perry ’13, lets you animate rudimentary creatures by wiring up neurons, muscles, and sensors. Along the way, you see how simple circuits can generate complex behavior.

My creature is flailing.

It’s a slapdash concoction of tendon and bone, with floppy appendages and mismatched eyes. Its pathetic brain consists of nine—count ‘em—nine neurons. I have armed it with stingers, harpoons, and suckers, but this arsenal has so far proven utterly worthless, because I haven’t yet figured out a much more basic problem-- how to get the damn thing to propel itself through this alien ocean. Meanwhile, a sleek six-flippered monster (dubbed “the Kraken”) darts dangerously near, pulsing with menace. Unless I can find a way to rewire its brain, my creature (the “Mike-crobe”) is headed for extinction.

Students nab prize for work on “hunger hormone”

Peckish? Ghrelin is probably flooding your hypothalamus right now.

A trio of Reed psych majors won a prize at a scientific conference last month for their research into ghrelin—sometimes known as the “hunger hormone.”

Biochem major Eliotte Garling ’18, bio-psych major Lia Zallar ’16, and psych major Hannah Baumgartner ’16 won the Neuroscience/Psychology Poster Prize at the 24th annual Murdock College Science Research Program held in Vancouver, WA, for their research into the mechanisms by which ghrelin affects appetite, metabolism, stress, and reward signaling.

Working with Prof. Paul Currie [psych], the students performed a series of experiments on rats to investigate the effects of ghrelin when injected into different parts of the brain.