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Neurohistory Cartoons: A scientific outreach project combining the history of neuroscience and cartoon imagery

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Neurohistory Cartoons: A scientific outreach project combining the history of neuroscience and cartoon imagery

While preparing for a microteaching class on neuroscience I stumbled upon notes on a poster I attended at #SfN18 about “Neurohistory Cartoons”. To be honest this (History of Neuroscience) is one of the topics I found harder to digest when I took my first neuroscience class and I’m confident that others felt the same. As an instructor and as a learner I have seen the effectiveness of using cartoons as a tool for teaching/learning. The effectiveness of cartoons in teaching can also be found in the literature and it is used in many fields including economics, social and physical sciences [1,2].

Ok, I’ll get to the point. Neurohistory Cartoons are an online tool developed by the Neuroscience Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. While at the poster I learned from Samantha Baglot, the lead project organizer, that this project aims to share the history of neuroscience through cartoon imagery and the content is freely accessible. One of their goals for the future is to share information about scientists whose discoveries may not be as well-known and have paved the way for current research questions.


Neurohistory Cartoons are shared in the form of a timeline (shown above and at the Neurohistory Cartoons website) and once you click on the image it gives you the information from the scientist highlighted in the picture (below).


There are currently ten scientists listed and the list will continue to grow as the team has recently been awarded funds for the expansion of this project. I think this is a great resource for teaching about “Neurohistory” and think it should be widely shared. All of the content can be downloaded through their website.

Finally, the creators are open to ideas and collaborations. If interested feel free to contact them through this form or Twitter @neurohistoons.


  1. Van Wyk MM. (2017). The Use of Cartoons as a Teaching Tool to Enhance Student Learning in Economics Education. JSS. 117-130.
  2. Shurkin J. (2015). Science and Culture: Cartoons to Better Communicate Science. PNAS. 112 (38): 11741–11742.

Alexandra Colón-Rodríguez, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral scholar
Genome Center
University of California Davis
Twitter: @alexcr_1

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