About

(From http://mashable.com/2013/04/02/obama-brain/)
(From http://mashable.com/2013/04/02/obama-brain/)

Something I noticed about science/neuroscience blogs, and science writing in general…it’s not done by scientists! That doesn’t mean that quality of the writing or the reporting is of a poor quality—in some instances, they can be phenomenal (Carl Zimmer’s articles come to mind). However, journalists (even the best) are not scientists and their writing is not a scientists’ perspective.

It was this realization, in concert with my passion for science communication and love of writing and thinking about science, that lead me to this little project: a science blog by a scientist.

Above all, I want the public to understand science because I’m an early career scientists that cares about making life better for as many people as possible. And I strongly believe that science, more than nearly any other human endeavor, has consistently improved our lives in numerous ways: from health to lifestyle to economics.

A little bit about me first. My name is Derek Simon and I completed by PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology in August 2012 from the University of Michigan. I have been working in academic research labs for over a decade, since my second semester (January 2004) as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research interests and projects have ranged from Huntington’s disease to the endocrinology of prostate cancer to cancer biology and biology of the adrenal glands. I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rockefeller University (http://rockefeller.edu/) working in the Laboratory of the Neurobiology of Addictive Diseases.

My current scientific passions are neuroscience (brain biology) and specifically, the neuroscience of drug addiction. This blog will largely focus on topics related to drug addiction but since this is a remarkably complex disease (the same as nearly all topics related to the brain) a great deal of basic neuroscience knowledge is needed.

However, my science passions are eclectic so here’s an overly ambitious list of topics I hope to discuss:

  • Drug addiction
    • Basic neuroscience knowledge
    • Important research about the actions of drugs of abuse
    • Experimental techniques in neuroscience and drug addiction research
    • Drug policy and criminal justice issues related to drug abuse in the United States
  • General discussion of science
    • The scientific method and “how do we know what we know?” in science
    • Science policy in the United States
    • Discussion of limitation, flaws, and improvements to be made in the scientific research world
  • Other fun topics in science
    • Hot Topics in science and exciting new research
    • The science of music
    • Consciousness and free will
    • The science of sexuality

Just a quick disclaimer: the views and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone. My writings here do not represent the views or opinions of the Rockefeller University, my boss, or my colleagues.

And I do not claim to be an expert, merely what I would call “a source with professional experience”. An important quality for a scientist to possess is to know what you know. That may seem like a strange statement but it as the core of all scientific research. We scientists are constantly striving to learn more about the world, but due to limitations in technology, our ability to accurately measure the things we want to measure, and there are limits to our knowledge. I am simply being honest about my own limitations as a scientist.

I’m also a classically trained pianist, aspiring composer, and amateur photographer. The other tabs on the site will be dedicated to these other passions.

Thank you so much and hopefully this will be an educational and enlightening experience for my readers and myself!

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