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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 one million followers across all platforms. These 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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