Non-Fiction, Slice of Pie

Slice of Pie: Alie & Micah Masterfully Explain Our Brains!

This is a blog first – our very first slice of SCIENCE PIE! Get smart, and connect with the fine folks of Neuro Transmissions to learn more about how your brain does stuff for you!

~A Slice of Pie!~

A tasty sample of something fresh cooked up by a creator of my choosing.


Who are you?

We’re Alie and Micah Caldwell, out in sunny San Diego! Alie is a graduate student of neuroscience at UCSD, while Micah is a clinical counselor. We are also the co-creators of Neuro Transmissions!

What’s your thing right now? That thing. You know. That thing over there. What is that?

Neuro Transmissions is an educational YouTube channel dedicated to breaking down basic neuroscience for a broad audience. Alie brainstorms and writes the episodes, acting as host “Alie Astrocyte”, while Micah does the filming, editing, and animating.


What do you love about this thing?

We love having the chance to work together on a project. Alie loves having the opportunity to write and talk about her favorite subject (the brain), and Micah loves getting to experiment with new equipment and editing techniques. We’ve also gotten to meet and work with a lot of really cool people doing educational YouTube work.

What do you hate about this thing?

Each video takes a long time to put together, so we’re limited in how often we can put out content (right now our schedule is a video every other Sunday), and even then meeting our deadline can be tough. It’s hard to balance the rest of our lives with our hobby!

How and why did this thing get started? How long has it been going on?

A friend knew that Micah and Alie had participated in non-science film projects before, and forwarded us a link to the Society for Neuroscience’s Brain Awareness Video Contest. Our first time entering in 2014, we won second place! That, plus Alie’s love of writing and science communication, got them thinking about the broader possibilities for exploring neuroscience through YouTube videos. We spent almost a year brainstorming and writing before officially launching Neuro Transmissions in September of 2015.

When/how/where can people get some of the thing?

Visit us at Neuro Transmissions on YouTube to see our videos; you can also find us on Twitter (Alie also has a personal account) and on WordPress, where Alie blogs about her favorite brain cells when she has the time!

Alie Astrocyte!

What thing would you do if you had all the money and time in the world right now?

Ooo, tough question. We’d purchase some new filming and audio equipment, wipe out some student loan debts, contribute some money to help some struggling friends and family, and travel. A lot. Our bucket list includes the 59 main National Parks, Sweden, Thailand, Peru, New Zealand and Iceland.

What’s your new favorite thing that someone else has done/made?

We’ve recently discovered a hilarious fantasy podcast that plays into our love of D&D. “Hello From The Magic Tavern” is a live improv podcast with the premise that the creator and host fell through a portal behind the Burger King and is now recording interviews in a tavern in a magical land in another universe.

Possibly the most important question… If your thing was a pie, what kind of pie would it be?

Probably a pecan pie – crunchy on the outside (like the skull) but soft and squishy on the inside (like your brain). We can’t vouch for the taste, though!

What (if anything) can you tell us about brains with relation to pie and/or other pastry desserts?

So, you’ve probably seen/heard some of the very dramatic, scary headlines about how “sugar is as addictive as cocaine!!!” That’s not strictly true, but it is true that sugar has significant effects on the brain. Receptors in our taste buds detect sweetness, which sends a signal to the brain. Dopamine is released in areas of the brain associated with reward, and natural opioids are released in areas associated with pleasure. So that joy you feel when biting into a lovely piece of pie is real!

Micah and Alie!

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Alie and Micah are two lovely brilliant people that I’ve known since high school! They are awful smart and their work with Neuro Transmissions has been impressive and fascinating. I highly recommend checking out their YouTube channel and learning a bit about how your ol’ noggin really works. Also they just did one to celebrate the new Star Wars movie, so check that Jedi mind trick stuff out!

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