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In today's world, science is unnecessarily disconnected from society. This may be the result of paywalled scientific journals, jargon-filled publications, and a lack of channels for dialogue with the public. I believe this is not only unnecessary, but that it is unhealthy for science, feeding public distrust and diminishing awareness. To address this gap, I began sharing short educational science videos on TikTok in April of 2020. My goal is to make science more clear and accessible, and I am grateful to have gained an audience of more than 710,000 followers on TikTok, 135,000+ on Instagram, and 115,000+ on BiliBiliThese efforts have been recognized with awards from the National Academies of Science, the Society for Neuroscience, Stanford University, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Vlogbrothers. 

I believe that scientists are the most capable disseminators of their own research, and that communications courses should be standard elements of graduate programs in the sciences. To this end, I have developed and led science communication workshops at universities including Johns Hopkins, Stanford, UT Dallas, and the University of Minnesota.

Paper summaries

In my TikTok videos, I often provide short summaries of research papers. Below is a bibliography of the papers that I've summarized, with links to the corresponding video. Save time reading and enjoy a quick synopsis in 60-90 seconds instead! 😎👌 

Format: Description, authors, year, title, journal, link to paper, link to TikTok. Last updated March 15, 2023.

3D-printed wagyu steaks: Kang et al., 2021, Engineered whole cut meat-like tissue by the assembly of cell fibers using tendon-gel integrated bioprinting, Nature Communications · Paper · TikTok


The gut-brain axis in autism spectrum disorder: Sharon et al., 2019, Human Gut Microbiota from Autism Spectrum Disorder Promote Behavioral Symptoms in Mice, Cell · Paper · TikTok


Brain cells playing pong in a dish: Kagan et al., 2022, In vitro neurons learn and exhibit sentience when embodied in a simulated game-world, Neuron · Paper · TikTok


The brain has a low power mode: Padamsey et al., 2022, Neocortex saves energy by reducing coding precision during food scarcity, Neuron · Paper · TikTok


Complete reconstruction of C. elegans brain: Witvliet et al., 2021, Connectomes across development reveal principles of brain maturation, Nature · Paper · TikTok


Cooperation behavior in rats: Jian et al., 2021, Evolution and neural representation of mammalian cooperative behavior, Cell Reports · Paper · TikTok


Disagreeable traits and career success: Anderson et al., 2020, People with disagreeable personalities (selfish, combative, and manipulative) do not have an advantage in pursuing power at work, PNAS · Paper · TikTok


Evidence that dogs love their owners: Nagasawa et al., 2015, Oxytocin-gaze positive loop and the coevolution of human-dog bonds, Science · Paper · TikTok


New theory of dreaming from David Eagleman: Eagleman and Vaughn, 2021, The Defensive Activation Theory: REM Sleep as a Mechanism to Prevent Takeover of the Visual Cortex, Frontiers in Neuroscience · Paper · TikTok


People feel empathy for emojis: Liao et al., 2021, “Emoji, I can feel your pain” – Neural responses to facial and emoji expressions of pain, Biological Psychology · Paper · TikTok


Empathy for fair vs unfair people: Singer et al., 2006, Empathic neural responses are modulated by the perceived fairness of others, Nature · Paper · TikTok


Empathy for pain = pain: Lamm et al., 2011, Meta-analytic evidence for common and distinct neural networks associated with directly experienced pain and empathy for pain, NeuroImage · Paper · TikTok


Empathy in prairie voles (consolation behavior): Burkett et al., 2016, Oxytocin-dependent consolation behavior in rodents, Science · Paper · TikTok


The social transfer of pain in mice: Smith et al., 2021, Anterior cingulate inputs to nucleus accumbens control the social transfer of pain and analgesia, Science · Paper · TikTok


Epstein-Barr Virus and Multiple Sclerosis: Bjornevik et al., 2022, Longitudinal analysis reveals high prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus associated with multiple sclerosis, Science · Paper · TikTok


Transferring plasma from exercising mice reduces brain inflammation: Miguel et al., 2021, Exercise plasma boosts memory and dampens brain inflammation via clusterin, Nature · Paper · TikTok


Eye watering in dogs: Murata et al., 2022, Increase of tear volume in dogs after reunion with owners is mediated by oxytocin, Current Biology · Paper · TikTok


Fish-operated vehicle: Givon et al., 2022, From fish out of water to new insights on navigation mechanisms in animals, Behavioral Brain Research · Paper · TikTok


Antioxidants allow flies to live a full life without sleeping: Vaccaro et al., 2020, Sleep Loss Can Cause Death through Accumulation of Reactive Oxygen Species in the Gut, Cell · Paper · TikTok


How scientists test sociability in mice: Rein et al., 2020, A standardized social preference protocol for measuring social deficits in mouse models of autism, Nature Protocols · Paper · TikTok


Is social media bad for mental health?: Lambert et al., 2020, Taking a One-Week Break from Social Media Improves Well-Being, Depression, and Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking · Paper · TikTok


The Jennifer Aniston neuron: Quiroga et al., 2005, Invariant visual representation by single neurons in the human brain, Nature · Paper · TikTok


Rollercoaster restores placement of dislocated lens: Bosch et al., 2003, Repositioning of a Dislocated Intraocular Lens during a Roller-Coaster Ride, New England Journal of Medicine · Paper · TikTok


Long-term effects of COVID on the brain: Taquet et al., 2021, 6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236 379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records, The Lancet: Psychiatry · Paper · TikTok


Breakthrough in lucid dreaming research: Konkoly et al., 2021, Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep, Current Biology · Paper · TikTok


Mice are generous to each other: Scheggia et al., 2022, Reciprocal cortico-amygdala connections regulate prosocial and selfish choices in mice, Nature Neuroscience · Paper · TikTok


Music for baby brain development: Lordier et al., 2018, Music in premature infants enhances high-level cognitive brain networks, PNAS · Paper · TikTok


My first publication: suicide prevention awareness training on college campuses: Rein et al., 2018, Evaluation of an avatar-based training program to promote suicide prevention awareness in a college setting, Journal of American College Health · Paper · TikTok


HDAC5 inhibition in autism spectrum disorder: Rein et al., 2022, Inhibition of histone deacetylase 5 ameliorates abnormalities in 16p11.2 duplication mouse model, Neuropharmacology · Paper · TikTok


My PFC review: Yan and Rein, 2022, Mechanisms of Synaptic Transmission Dysregulation in the Prefrontal Cortex: Pathophysiological Implications, Mol Psychiatry · Paper · TikTok


Dissociation in the brain: Vesuna et al., 2020, Deep posteromedial cortical rhythm in dissociation, Nature · Paper · TikTok


Neuroscience of politics: Zamboni et al., 2009, Individualism, conservatism, and radicalism as criteria for processing political beliefs: A parametric fMRI study, Social Neuroscience · Paper · TikTok


Neuroscience of politics part II: Billingsly et al., 2018, Sexual Disgust Trumps Pathogen Disgust in Predicting Voter Behavior During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, Evolutionary Psychology · Paper · TikTok


New technique for full-brain high-resolution imaging: Walsh et al., 2021, Imaging intact human organs with local resolution of cellular structures using hierarchical phase-contrast tomography, Nature Methods · Paper · TikTok


Religion and spirituality in the brain: Ferguson et al., 2022, A Neural Circuit for Spirituality and Religiosity Derived From Patients With Brain Lesions, Biological Psychiatry · Paper · TikTok


Pain Reprocessing Therapy: Ashar et al., 2022, Effect of Pain Reprocessing Therapy vs Placebo and Usual Care for Patients With Chronic Back Pain; A Randomized Clinical Trial, JAMA Psychiatry · Paper · TikTok


Painkillers kill empathy for pain: Mischkowski et al., 2016, From painkiller to empathy killer: acetaminophen (paracetamol) reduces empathy for pain, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience · Paper · TikTok


Placebo painkillers activate opioid signaling: Rütgen et al., 2015, Placebo analgesia and its opioidergic regulation suggest that empathy for pain is grounded in self pain, PNAS · Paper · TikTok


Plants can learn: Gagliano et al., 2014, Experience teaches plants to learn faster and forget slower in environments where it matters, Oecologia · Paper · TikTok


Progesterone fluctuations change brain volume: Taylor et al., 2020, Progesterone shapes medial temporal lobe volume across the human menstrual cycle, NeuroImage · Paper · TikTok


Psilocybin and social exclusion: Preller et al., 2016, Effects of serotonin 2A/1A receptor stimulation on social exclusion processing, PNAS · Paper · TikTok


Random noise brain stimulation: Van der Groen et al., 2022, Using noise for the better: The effects of transcranial random noise stimulation on the brain and behavior, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews · Paper · TikTok


Reddit DMT study: Lawrence et al., 2022, Phenomenology and content of the inhaled N, N‐dimethyltryptamine (N, N‐DMT) experience, Scientific Reports · Paper · TikTok


Restoring vision with optogenetics Part 1: Sahel et al., 2021, Partial recovery of visual function in a blind patient after optogenetic therapy, Nature Medicine · Paper · TikTok


Restoring vision with optogenetics Part 2: Sahel et al., 2021, Partial recovery of visual function in a blind patient after optogenetic therapy, Nature Medicine · Paper · TikTok


Reviving pig brains four hours after death: Vrselja et al., 2019, Restoration of brain circulation and cellular functions hours post-mortem, Nature · Paper · TikTok


Social interbrain synchrony: Kingsbury et al., 2019, Correlated Neural Activity and Encoding of Behavior Across Brains of Socially Interacting Individuals, Cell · Paper · TikTok


Squirrel parkour: Hunt et al., 2021, Acrobatic squirrels learn to leap and land on tree branches without falling, Science · Paper · TikTok


The brain during orgasm: Jern et al., 2022, Endogenous opioid release following orgasm in man: A combined PET-fMRI study, BioRXiv · Paper · TikTok


What are 16p11.2 copy number variations?: Rein and Yan, 2020, 16p11.2 Copy Number Variations and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Trends Neurosci. · Paper · TikTok


Vascular contributions to autism spectrum disorder: Oullette et al., 2020, Vascular contributions to 16p11.2 deletion autism syndrome modeled in mice, Nature Neuroscience · Paper · TikTok

Transplanting cerebrospinal fluid from young mice into old mice: Iram et al., 2022, Young CSF restores oligodendrogenesis and memory in aged mice via Fgf17, Nature · Paper · TikTok

News articles

Podcasts / shows

Science Communication: CV
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