Beyond Gobbledigook

Hannah Levis, Heart. Stain; University of Nottingham.

Posted in Stain by Jessica on June 22, 2010

Hannah Levis, Heart. Stain; University of Nottingham.

This was actually a suggestion by a research assistant that is working on a neuropsychological study with me this summer. It comes from an exhibition in which students and scientists around Europe submitted pictures of their work. The stains come from their own lab experiments/research.

This particular stain is the purkinje cells from the cerrebellum (a region of the brain that controls motor function) that have been stained with calbindin. From looking at the stain, you would never know that (unless you are my fellow research assistant that quickly pointed out it was the cerrebellum). And it is so aptly named–that was the first thing I thought of–a heart.

But I thought this stain was appropriate because with this research this summer, I’ve looked at so many MRIs, whole brain MRIs, looking at white matter lesions and abnormalities. And I get really really sick of it. So to see this–you remember how intricate and beautiful the brain is. It is one part of your body that really has control of the rest of your body, in terms of senses, movement, memory, and emotions. And if cut in a certain way and stained in a certain way, it can produce something you would never expect. Like a heart.

No one ever expects science to be beautiful. From the outside, it seems like an objective, extremely methodical subject. But this proves that it doesn’t always have to be.

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