It can be a challenge for researchers to connect with the public about why the work they do with animals is important. It can be especially difficult to get the public to understand how humans can benefit from research with seemingly disparate species. Dr. Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez, professor of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at UC Davis in California, has taken it upon herself to explain why the work she does studying bird brains can help us to better comprehend our own brains.
Dr. Rodríguez studies birds in the field and in the lab, in order to understand how their brains function. She wanted to answer a common question from the public: “but why study bird brains?”, so she went on an epic journey to Washington D.C. to attend the 2017 Society for Neuroscience meeting, where she met with many other researchers who also study birds. She interviewed researchers who study bird brains and the brain’s role in how birds process sound, learn to sing, and take part in complex social behavior, among other topics. She and her team produced a hilarious video, detailing her trip and the intriguing investigators she came across at the meeting. They really did put a bird on it. Check out the video below:
Speaking of Research congratulates Dr. Rodríguez on a job well done with such an informative and entertaining work of science communication. Major kudos for promoting the importance of diversity in the sciences, too! We wish her all the best with her research, and we hope to see more great SciComm out of her lab someday soon!