'Curious Neurons'

Curious Neurons
Posted on 24 March 2016

This stunning image, taken by Keele postgraduate research student, George Joseph, has won a top prize in a national science photography competition, organised by EPSRC.

George, at the Institute of Technology in Medicine, was awarded second prize in the Eureka category of the Science Photo Competition 2015, by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (www.epsrc.ac.uk/photocomp)

Called 'Curious Neurons' the image shows developing brain cells from the rat cortex, cultured at Keele (ISTM). The cell nuclei are labeled in blue. The red cells are glia, the brain cells that provide structure and support to neurons, the functional component of the nervous system. In this image the neurons, in green, are "feeling" their surroundings, i.e. looking for other cells to connect with (form synapses), so that they can "talk" with each other. This research aims to help identify the environmental elements necessary to grow stem cells for use in therapeutic treatments for people with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. The image was taken at Keele with a Nikon 80i microscope with a Hamamatsu ORCA camera.

One of the judges, Professor Robert Winston, said: “It is crucial to promote greater understanding of science and engineering research, the role it plays in making new discoveries, developing new technologies and in making the world a better place for us all. These are truly inspirational images and tell great stories. It was a real pleasure to take part as a judge and I hope people will want to find out more.”