Monthly Archives: March 2014

Stayin’ Alive, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Stress (post 1)

As I prepare to spend time writing about the pursuit of happiness, I thought I would re-post (with a few minor edits) this post on mental health that I wrote for my “Badges” column on the USC Graduate School blog. This is mostly about maintenance and healing, a lot of it may or may not be accurate or helpful for people struggling with lifelong mental health issues.

In addition, here are a few good resources I’ve gathered over the last year or so related to mental health, happiness, positive perspective, etc.  Continue reading


Beyond The Ph.D.

On Thursday, March 13, USC’s Postdoc Association held its annual event, “Beyond the Ph.D”, designed to provide advice and perspective to people who Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows in all fields who all need to have a real job someday and may not be sure what to do. After all, graduate advisors tend to encourage remaining in academia, being that they love it. I live-tweeted as much as I could under the hashtag #BeyondThePhD. I went to panels for engineers, but I think the advice I heard was very generic.  Continue reading

Mirror, mirror, in the brain / You are tricky to explain

So I’m finally getting my first post up now. It’s amazing how good intentions dissipate when work creeps up on you.

I was going to try to do some real “science journalism” on this blog, but for the sake of trying to write regularly, that’s going to be on hold, at least until the summer. That being said, I still want to talk about science here. It will just be more from an angle of personal interest. My research interests include medical technology and neural control of movement, but I won’t be limiting posts to those topics.

About a month and a half ago (January 27, 2014), Prof. Roger Lemon of UCL came to USC to give a talk he titled “Mirror neurons, motor commands. and movement: new insights into corticospinal function”. 

The concept of “mirror neurons” in the sensorimotor system dates back to research from the early 1990s (for example, [1]). When researchers were studying cortical activation in macaque monkeys, they also observed that some neurons were firing in response to observing the researcher doing the task. This phenomenon was also later identified for humans in cortical area F5 (i.e., ventral premotor cortex), which is adjacent to primary motor cortex (M1). Continue reading