Season 01, Episode 08

Rick and Morty:
Voles, Dogs, and Love Potions

About the Episode: 

Rick and Morty: Rick Potion #9, Rick creates a love serum for Morty to use at the school dance; as per usual, a mantis-disaster occurs leading to a world of hurt and destruction. Rick confesses the delicate balance of designing a love potion, but what does neuroscientist Joshua Barrios think? In this episode, Josh talks about monogamous voles, whether petting your dog can cause oxytocin release, and what combination of species’ DNA he would use to create the most dangerous animal possible.

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About Joshua Barrios:

I joined the University of Utah Neuroscience PhD program in 2013 and joined the Douglass lab in 2014. I’ve always been driven by questions of the biological nature of sensation and behavior. Right now I’m interested in state-dependent changes in sensorimotor processing in small circuits, degeneracy and sparsity of neural codes, population coding, and machine learning approaches to data analysis.  In the Douglass lab, I’m investigating the modulatory role of a subset of hypothalamic dopamine neurons in locomotor behavior initiation. I use a combination of in-vivo two-photon calcium imaging with simultaneous behavior quantification, optogenetic manipulation, laser ablation, genetic knockout, and anatomical tracing techniques to probe this circuit. When I’m not in the lab, I’m usually gardening, hiking or snowboarding. I’m currently working on publishing my first book, “Chicken soup for the troubled larva”.