Brain

Bat Brains Organized for Echolocation and Flight

Anew study shows how the brains of Egyptian fruit bats are highly specialized for echolocation and flight, with motor areas of the cerebral cortex that are dedicated to sonar production and wing control. The work by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and UC Berkeley was published May 25 in Current Biology. Professor Leah Krubitzer’s lab at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience studies how evolution produces variation in brain organization across a wide variety of mammals, including opossums, tree shrews, rodents and primates. This comparative neurobiology approach shows how both evolution and development influence brain organization.

Brain Builds and Uses Maps of Social Networks, Physical Space, in the Same Way

Even in these social-distanced days, we keep in our heads a map of our relationships with other people: family, friends, co-workers, and how they relate to each other. New research from the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain shows that we put together this social map in much the same way that we assemble a map of physical places and things.

Big Ideas for Tomorrow’s Challenges

Innovative projects aim to transform the future

UC Davis’ Big Ideas are forward-thinking, interdisciplinary programs and projects that build upon the strengths of the university to make a better world. The College of Letters and Science is lead and partner on several initiatives that will help shape the rest of this century and beyond. Here we share the visions of College faculty champions and researchers engaged in five of the Big Ideas.

Brain Molecule Identified as Key in Anxiety Model

Boosting a single molecule in the brain can change “dispositional anxiety,” the tendency to perceive many situations as threatening, in nonhuman primates, researchers from UC Davis, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found. The molecule, neurotrophin-3, stimulates neurons to grow and make new connections. The finding provides hope for new strategies focused on intervening early in life to treat people at risk for anxiety disorders, depression and related substance abuse. Current treatments work for only a subset of people and often only partially relieve symptoms. 

Bright Minds of Brain Science Gather for ‘ERP Boot Camp’

A lot of brain power is concentrating at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain for a July 15–24 “boot camp” on researching human brain activity. The annual ERP Boot Camp brings 35 emerging and established scientists from around the world to learn from leading experts how to best record “event-related potentials (ERPs),” the electrical signals generated in the brain in response to events like a spoken word or an image on a computer screen.

Brain Prioritizes High-Reward Memories

Why do we remember some events, places and things, but not others? Our brains prioritize rewarding memories over others, and reinforce them by replaying them when we are at rest, according to UC Davis research published in the journal Neuron.