Science of “Monsters”

At the time when people had limited scientific knowledges, mutated animals could be easily interpreted as omen. In 18th century, lots of local farmers in Paris witnessed the births of various mutated animals. Thankfully, some farmers sent the mutated animals to the Ecole Veterinaire d’Alfort, a veterinary school in Paris, for further identification and most of the animals had been used for scientific research. On the first day of our NBB Paris Study Abroad Program, we visited Musee Fragnoard, a museum contains animal dissections and skeletons, located in the Ecole Veterinaire d’Alfort. Musee Fragnoard is named after Honoré Fragnoard, the school’s first professor of anatomy, and he was famous for the preparation and preservation of skinned cadavers.

 Exhibition of infectious disease organs and models.

Continue reading “Science of “Monsters””

Neuromaestro: Music Composition in the Brain

On Thursday, we visited the Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise, the largest cemetery in Paris. This was my first time visiting one, and I was surprised to see how different it was to see a cemetery in person in comparison to how they look in movies. Each of the tombs and mausoleums was extremely intricate and unique.

When we reached the cemetery, we received maps that had names of famous people who were buried there. I saw a few names I recognized, but Frédéric Chopin stood out to me instantly. When I was younger, I learned a lot about Chopin’s work as a pianist and composer through music class in school as well as outside piano lessons. At first, I resented going to piano lessons, but slowly started liking them over time. I realized that if I spent enough time trying to learn a piece that fit with my level of skill, I could do it. But whenever I was asked by piano teachers to try to write a few stanzas of my own music, I always struggled.

Figure 1. Me next to Chopin’s grave. Continue reading “Neuromaestro: Music Composition in the Brain”

The Music Lives on

On Thursday, May 31, 2018, we visited the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Huge mausoleums were seen surrounding the entrance as we walked in. Some of the mausoleums were over one hundred years old and still standing beautifully. Stained glass windows were illuminated as the sun shined through these antique structures. This cemetery had much more to offer than its serene appearance; it would contain the bodies of many noteworthy individuals such as Frédéric Chopin.

This is a picture showing the different activation patterns of musicians and non-musicians as they play an instrument. This shows how musicians are activating less of their brain, which is similar to how Chopin’s brain would look.

Continue reading “The Music Lives on”

I don’t think I could ever leave music behind.

Image 1: Divi playing at his senior recital.

As my fingers dance across the ebony board, I find myself lost in the music. After years of practice, patience, and attention I stand in front of my friends, family, and teacher ready to present my final work—my senior recital. For me, this performance was my swan song and the end of a 13 yearlong journey playing the violin. Thus, when my bow hit the strings, I fell into my music and clung onto every single, last moment of my concerto. When my bow finally fell to my side at the end of the song, I could hardly remember what had just happened. All I could feel was euphoria. Continue reading “I don’t think I could ever leave music behind.”

Real giants!?

As a petite person (5’3”), I have considered many of those around me very tall. I remember being the shortest one out of all of my friends, and I always felt like they were giants.

However, after visiting Musée Fragonard within the first week of my Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology (NBB) Emory University study abroad trip in Paris, I realized just how tall a true “giant” was. Musée Fragonard is a museum full of anatomical parts of animals or humans preserved for veterinary students and public. During my visit, I was able to see an anatomically-correct model of a patient’s hand who was diagnosed with gigantism.

Comparing my tiny hand to a model of someone diagnosed with gigantism during the museum visit
A close-up of the large hand

As you can see, the model is more than three times as big as my little hand. This made me wonder: How do you get gigantism?  Just how “big” do you have to be? Continue reading “Real giants!?”

A Cheesy Visit

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, the NBB class and I visited a Fromagerie in Paris, France for an authentic cheese tasting. Walking into the Fromagerie, I immediately smelled the peculiar aroma associated with cheese. As an individual new to the delicacies of France, I made sure to carefully pay attention as I walked into the quaint display room of the Fromagerie to get a closer look. I then tasted with my eyes glaring at the various cheeses on display, realizing that I had no relevant knowledge of the science of the cheese-making process and wanted to learn more.

At the tasting, the class met an extremely enthusiastic cheese connoisseur named Ashley. To our surprise, Ashley was originally from the United States and journeyed to France to pursue her dreams. Her pursuit of her dreams drew me to thinking about my dream to pursue a career in neuroscience during the tasting. As a result of the experience, I began to feel more confident to apply my neuroscience knowledge to the cheese tasting in order to make sure that I made the most of my NBB in Paris experience. Before coming to Paris, I knew I wanted to integrate every experience into a bigger picture. Continue reading “A Cheesy Visit”

Cheese Tasting and Neuroscience?

Me holding a cheese! This visit ties back into neuroscience because the rind of certain cheeses contain the bacterium P. candidum, which research suggests have anti-inflammatory properties in microglial cells, which protect neurons. Time for deliciousness and brain health at the same time!

Hey y’all! My name is Jeffrey Yang and I’m a rising junior studying Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory. I’m currently in Paris for the NBB study abroad program, and today we went cheese tasting! However, this isn’t just for pleasure, believe it or not!

I’ll first start off with the cheese tasting. We visited the Fromagerie, one of the traditional cheese makeries in Paris right in the heart of the old part of town. The shop was very small, very cute, and had a collection of about 150 different cheeses, which is apparently standard in many cheese shops around Paris. As special guests, we were invited to the basement to taste six different cheeses, starting with a very light goat cheese and ending with a very strong blue cheese. All of the cheeses are specialties that were conceived in France and whose origins come from all over France. We learned about how cheese was made, how it was maintained, and even learned the difference between taste and flavor! Each cheese that we tasted was unique and had its own master pairing of juice, but my absolute favorite was the comte, which is right in between a light and strong cheese (so I suppose you could call it moderate!). It was crunchy, extremely flavorful, and had an amazing aroma. I will most definitely be on the lookout for comte in cheese shops all over France now! Continue reading “Cheese Tasting and Neuroscience?”

Blog 1: Day Trip to Ecole Vétérinaire

As a little kid I looked up to my mother and thought that I would also be a veterinarian one day. I had since changed my mind about career choices, but I am still fascinated by the profession and realize that having to be an expert in such a large variety of animals and their organ morphology is not an easy task. I have not however anticipated going to one of the oldest veterinary schools in Paris, École nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, for my NBB Paris Abroad program.

The trip was actually to the Musée Fragonard, a museum full of anatomical parts of animals (normal and oddities) preserved for the learning of veterinary students as well as the awe of the general public.

It was a fascinating trip and it was also great to recognize that by studying neuroscience in college, I have not completely strayed from the ideal job of 5-year-old Greti, she can still be proud of me, because even though with neuroscience the focus is more on humans, the issues are similar. Continue reading “Blog 1: Day Trip to Ecole Vétérinaire”

Sample post: How many Ph.D.’s does it take to make Chocolate?

This an example of the type of post you will write.  This is adapted from a post written by Pamela Nicole Romero and published on June 26, 2017.

If you ever want to see students and professors alike act like children, take them to a chocolate factory. When we went to the Chocolate Museum last week, we got a demo on how to prepare milk chocolate. We had to pour the chocolate onto the table and move it around with two spatulas. The Chocolate Museum speaker’s quick moves reminded me of an artist painting fast yet ever precise brushstrokes.

I knew that moving chocolate around was harder than it seemed, so I was not surprised when some of my classmates struggled to move the chocolate around fast enough. The presenter’s directions caught my eye as he said, “scrape the smaller spatula on the bigger one.” So what separated his movements from the rest of ours? I hypothesized it had something to do with not only his years of experience, but also at how he looked at the task itself. He differentiated his hand movements on the basis of the size of the tool each hand held…. Continue reading “Sample post: How many Ph.D.’s does it take to make Chocolate?”