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Shelly Fan

Shelly Xuelai Fan is a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, where she studies ways to make old brains young again. In addition to research, she's also an avid science writer with an insatiable obsession with biotech, AI and all things neuro. She spends her spare time kayaking, bike camping and getting lost in the woods.

Brain Mapping Tech Inflates Tissue 20x to Reveal Remarkable Detail

Like the fiber optic cables that connect landline phones, the long branches of brain cells transmit information from one neuron to the next. Unlike phone cables that can only passively carry electrical signals, however, neuronal...

CRISPR Pill May Be Key in Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance

Even since Alexander Fleming stumbled across penicillin—the first antibiotic drug—scientists knew our fight with evolution was on. Most antibiotics work by blocking biological processes that allow bacteria to thrive and multiply. With prolonged, low-dosage use,...

Neuroscientists Can Now Read Your Dreams With a Simple Brain Scan

Like islands jutting out of a smooth ocean surface, dreams puncture our sleep with disjointed episodes of consciousness. How states of awareness emerge from a sleeping brain has long baffled scientists and philosophers alike. For...

Scientists Hacked a Cell’s DNA and Made a Biocomputer Out of It

Our brains are often compared to computers, but in truth, the billions of cells in our bodies may be a better analogy. The squishy sacks of goop may seem a far cry from rigid...

Old Mice Made Young Again With New Anti-Aging Drug

There’s something eerily dystopian about the lives of cells. Like the young heroes in popular teen novels, cells are born into stringent organ “societies,” destined to perform specific roles preordained by their DNA expression. Like...

Google Chases General Intelligence With New AI That Has a Memory

For a mind to be capable of tackling anything, it has to have a memory. Humans are exceptionally good at transferring old skills to new problems. Machines, despite all their recent wins against humans, aren’t....

Is the Brain More Powerful Than We Thought? Here Comes the Science

If you’ve ever played around with an old music amplifier, you probably know what a firing neuron sounds like. A sudden burst of static? Check. A rapid string of pops, like hundreds of bursting balloons?...

New Artificial Synapse Bridges the Gap to Brain-Like Computers

From AlphaGo’s historic victory against world champion Lee Sedol to DeepStack’s sweeping win against professional poker players, artificial intelligence is clearly on a roll. Part of the momentum comes from breakthroughs in artificial neural networks,...

Are These Giant Neurons the Seat Of Consciousness in the Brain?

The towering trees with their sprawling branches in the redwood forests have always reminded me of neurons in the brain. Like trees, each neuron extends out tortuous, delicate branches in a quest to make contact...

Natural Selection Is About to Be Overpowered by the First-Ever Mammalian Gene Drive

The year is 2050. The place, New Zealand. Technological advances have dramatically changed the lives of the island’s human inhabitants, but on first blush, its animals remain untouched. Except for one curious thing: all invasive...

Does Zapping Your Brain Actually Help You Learn Faster?

From time to time, the Singularity Hub editorial team unearths a gem from the archives and wants to share it all over again. It's usually a piece that was popular back then and we...

New Tech Makes Brain Implants Safer and Super Precise

When Jan Scheuermann volunteered for an experimental brain implant, she had no idea she was making neuroscience history. Scheuermann, 54 at the time of surgery, had been paralyzed for 14 years due to a neurological...

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