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Title:Neurons: Visualization of Our Small Cells that Allow Us to Do Grand Things
Author(s):Sam, Kimberly
Contributor(s):Sengupta, Parijat
Subject(s):Molecular and Cellular Biology
Abstract:Our skull protects one of the largest, most complex organs in the human body. Because of the skull, the brain is protected from impacts that run this essential organ the risk of damage. Although this protective skull works to our advantage, it shields us from seeing the brain and ultimately, prevents us from understanding, visually, the beauty behind the intricate networks that make up our brain. Additionally, we are shielded from seeing how damage to the brain affects the dynamics within, at the cellular level. Many studies have shown the effects of robust impacts that lead to physical damage to the brain, but what about the happenings at the subcellular level? What does that look like? Using GCaMP6s transfected neuronal networks, we have been able to cultivate these brain cells and maintain them outside of the body of the organism for visualization through calcium imaging. Using a novel machine engineered in our laboratory, we have been able to induce low-force mechanical impacts onto these cultures to see how the calcium dynamics change within. This image is taken during the firing of action potentials, visualizing the communication between neurons through their processes that connect them to one another. The fluorescence of these connections can be seen illuminating constantly, allowing us to visualize and understand how these small cells play a grand role in our everyday function.
Issue Date:2017-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Kimberly Sam
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-04-20

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