Art of Neuroscience 2012

April 25th, 2012 | Brain

C.P.J. De Kock: Pyramid puzzle

Artistic rendering of a single pyramidal neuron of layer 5A of rat primary somatosensory cortex. These pyramidal neurons are involved in encoding whisker movement when the rat is actively exploring its environment. The part of the neuron receiving information from neighbouring neurons is shown in red; the part of the neuron sending information downstream is shown in blue. The green cylinders illustrate anatomical landmarks of the primary somatosensory cortex. The individual neurons are the basic units of the nervous system and through single cell reconstructions of these pieces of the puzzle; we aim to disentangle the intricate cortical microcircuit.

This may be my favorite.

J. Winnubst: Sleeper cell

When we are born our brains are already fully formed and will, to a large extent, determine our
feelings, personality and desires. In order to achieve this highly complex functionality, immature
neurons must venture out during their development and find the right cell partners to form synaptic
connections with. This process is aided by spontaneous network activity in the brain that tests and
refines the made connections. Some will stabilize while others are destined to be broken up. Shown
here is one of the ways spontaneous activity shapes and organizes connectivity: Synaptic inputs that
are close together on a neurons dendrite are more likely to carry similar information and are more
often co-active. The image illustrates how, even before the brain has become fully functional, a single
immature neuron is already tasked with finding order amongst the internal chaos of the mind.

The center of the image shows a labeled stretch of dendrite on which recorded calcium transients,
belonging to 2 co-activate synapses, are represented in a contour map. Meanwhile, in the background
you can see the large amount of synaptic activity happening in the surrounding network as Gaussian
centers of activation.

E. Cuadrado: Fried egg astrocytes

Astrocytes derived from immortalized human neurostem cells (ihNSC) that have been in culture for 21 days. Staining for cell nuclei (Hoechst, yellow) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP, green).

I love the color combination – looks like an old Dick Tracy cover.

S. Hoyng: Organised chaos

This picture represents a human dorsal root ganglion infected ex vivo with a lentiviral vector encoding for green fluorescent protein (GFP). With immunohistochemistry it has been stained with a neuronal marker (red), a nuclear protein marker (blue) and GFP (green). This tissue was obtained from a postmortem autopsy in collaboration with the Netherlands Brain Bank and cultured for an additional 14 days. It represents the beauty of a highly complex organization in a seemingly chaotic environment.

“The strangeness will wear off and I think we will discover the deeper meanings in modern art.”: Jackson Pollock

S. Louw: Cool thinking

The striking resemblance between a neuron and a hole in the ice. Notice the ice skaters on the horizon. This photo shows beauty of nature at multiple scales. This picture taken at the Gouwzee with the former insula Marken in the background.

Very serene.


“The second annual Art of Neuroscience competition follows in the footsteps of other events, such as Nikon’s small world and Princeton’s Art of Science competitions. Our event brings art straight from Dutch neuroscience labs. Each year we participate in the Brain Awareness Week campaign (BAW). BAW is a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.”

Neuroscience Art is probably some of my favorite things to post on the site, so I hope you enjoyed the images above.  There’s something interesting about realizing that these artists are using their brains to create art inspired by brains — it really is a beautiful thing.

You can find more from the Art of Neuroscience 2012 here.  I would recommend scrolling through them all.  I just chose a few, but they are really all pretty great.


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