Neurotransmitter Switching

8232If a neuron has sustained activity over a long period of time (visual stimulus, stress, etc.) it can change the type of neurotransmitter that it makes. This gives our neurons many languages to communicate with and makes our brain more adaptable. Nick Spitzer explains this neurotransmitter switching and how that process impacts our physical abilities, disease processes, and more.

Watch Neuroplasticity: Our Adaptable Brain with Nick Spitzer.

Click here for more programs from the Brain Channel.

Entrepreneur Insights

8232What do you get when you pair a street-smart start-up expert and UCSB Professor of Practice with industry leaders who have distinguished themselves in their fields? You get a front row seat to fascinating, and sometimes surprising, candid conversations. The newest programs in this long-running series from the Technology Management Program at UC Santa Barbara finds John Greathouse in conversation with some intriguing people. Check out these new interviews:

  • Mark Sylvester, a cook who became the father of CGI and won an Oscar for scientific and technical achievement
  • Stacy Peralta, a skateboarding legend and the accidental inventor of the action sports video
  • Robbie Bach, the creator of the xBox, redefining the gaming industry
  • Mike Falzone, a YouTube star who leveraged his passions into a career
  • Cheryl Conner, who turned her love for writing into a PR firm.
  • For more from the series go to ucsd.tv/tmp

    UCTV Launches New Portal to Sustainability for California

    8232As the world’s sixth largest economy and provider of more than half the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables, sustaining California’s vitality is paramount. And, with greater demands from a changing climate and growing population, taking a proactive approach to maintaining sustainable growth for California is critical.

    That is what Sustainable California, a new, media-rich web portal hosted by University of California Television (UCTV) is about.

    Broadcasting stories of sustainability research and outreach conducted by University of California faculty, scientists and students, Sustainable California
    connects users to the science-based, real-world solutions the University of California is creating to maintain the balance of natural resources, biodiversity and sustainable growth in our state.

    Principal project partners include UC Water, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and UC Merced School of Engineering among others.

    UCTV Director Lynn Burnstan expressed her excitement at inaugurating the new portal, “This is what UCTV is about, connecting Californians to the real-world, inestimable values that the UC provides all of California. We are very excited to be able to join these partners and give the public direct access to what they are doing for all our benefit.”

    The launch features Water in the Balance, from UC Merced headquartered UCWater, a 5-minute journey from Sierra Nevada snowpack through the state’s system of dams to groundwater; Introduction to Conservation Agriculture Cropping Systems, from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, featuring California farmers and UC scientists working together to develop sustainable farming practices and Sierra-Net, from Berkeley-headquartered CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, featuring the development of innovative cyber-infrastructure to provide real-time monitoring of the state’s water resources.

    The channel’s content is appropriate for audiences of all ages and freely accessible to the public online at uctv.tv/sustainable-cal. The integrated video, article and curriculum format of the channel, in addition to its focus on biodiversity, natural resources, and low-impact living, provides users both a look at and connection to practical solutions and approaches the UC is developing, making it a valuable resource for professional practitioners, educators, and media outlets.

    Truth as a Common Good

    8232The usually humorous Robert Reich gets serious in this talk about how the fog of “alternative facts” and other falsehoods coming from the White House are threatening the democratic institutions that make America great, a view he shares with other Democrats and prominent Republicans alike. The former Labor Secretary gives a fascinating overview of the economic forces that led to the election of Donald Trump and offers a path forward for those inspired to engage in public life.

    Check him out on the UC Public Policy Channel.

    High Notes

    8232In recent years the STEM educational initiative – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – has gradually evolved into STEAM, as both educators and employers have gained a greater appreciation for the importance of arts education (the A in STEAM) in an innovation-driven economy. While it has long been held that early exposure to the arts, in particular music, contributes to the development of a well-rounded character, recent research and practical application both quantifies these benefits and identifies them as essential for developing marketable skills.

    Since 1945 San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) has offered thousands of student musicians the opportunity to study and perform classical repertoire. SDYS’ programs include chamber music, soloist competitions, group lessons, theory classes, mentor programs, and more, and have grown from one advanced orchestra of 60 students to over 600 participating in 12 orchestral and wind ensembles at various levels of proficiency. While many participants have gone on to leading conservatories and professional careers in music, SDSY sees its mission in the larger context of broadening cultural horizons, embracing diversity, and enriching the community. To this end, the Youth Symphony had partnered with area schools to provide both in-class and supplemental music education. This initiative has yielded measurable results, including:

    • Improved attendance
    • Improved academic performance, particularly in language and reading skills
    • Better performance on standardized tests
    • Increased parental involvement in their student’s education

    Additionally, students themselves report a greater sense of discipline, purpose, organization, belonging, and self-worth, all of which translates into a young person better equipped to tackle higher education and the marketplace.

    SDYS also supports statistical research through a partnership with the Center for Human Development at UC San Diego and participation in the Center’s SIMPHONY study. The goal of SIMPHONY is to explore how musical training influences a child’s brain and the development of skills like language and concentration. The results may then be used to bolster the case for music education and to refine teaching methods, not just in San Diego but nationwide.

    “High Notes: The Case for Music Education” provides an overview of a few of SDYS’ activities, including their Community Opus project, the SIMPHONY study, and their in-school activities using the Chula Vista Elementary School District as a representative sample.