Orange Crush

The Dorsal Raphe Nucleus, or DRN, is an area of the brain located along the midline of the brainstem that contains the largest number of serotonin containing (serotonergic) neurons in the brain. Serotonin participates in mood setting, sleep, social behavior, and many other things. Another cell type in this area are neurons that contain Glutamate Decarboxylase 1 (Gad1), which helps produce gamma-aminobutyeric acid (GABA), the … Continue reading Orange Crush

Sweet Serotonin

The Dorsal Raphe Nucleus, or DRN, is an area of the brain located along the midline of the brainstem, which is found towards the back of your brain. The DRN contains the largest number of serotonin-containing neurons, called serotonergic neurons, in the brain. You may recognize serotonin from the drug advertisements on TV, as it is a popular target for treating depression. Unsurprisingly, serotonin is … Continue reading Sweet Serotonin

Amygdala On My Mind

The amygdala is an area of the brain named for its almond shape (amygdala is Latin for almond). The amygdala is necessary for any biologically significant event, or anything related to survival, because of its involvement in decision-making, memory, and emotional responses, including both positive and negative. The amygdala is most commonly known for its role in aversive learning, in which a behavior is taught … Continue reading Amygdala On My Mind

In a Ghostly Mirror Rainbow

Europium and terbium are two rare earth elements that share a colorful similarity: they emit bright red and green light, respectively, when exposed to ultraviolet light. In the image above, there are five thin polymer films embedded with different concentrations of europium and terbium. The far-left film contains primarily terbium, hence the bright green light, while the far-right film contains primarily the red light-emitting europium. … Continue reading In a Ghostly Mirror Rainbow

Cell Fate

As humans, we are aware that we are committed to a certain fate: we are born, we live, and we inevitably die. We are less aware that each of the trillion cells in our bodies also have a fate of their own, and everyday each cell has to decide whether to give birth, live, or die. Not all cells can give “birth” (aka, divide via … Continue reading Cell Fate

Central Dogma

Our bodies contain numerous cell types that look drastically different and perform various functions that allow us to eat, breathe, move, and reproduce. While all cells have the same DNA as a “blueprint”, their working set of proteins can vary drastically. The process of making protein from DNA is known as the “central dogma”. However, it is not a linear step, but instead requires two … Continue reading Central Dogma

Mitosis

There are an estimated 37.2 trillion cells in the average adult human body. 37.2 trillion is a staggering number, especially when we remember that we all develop from a single fertilized egg cell. So how does one cell become 37.2 trillion cells? Through mitosis. Mitosis is the process of cell division, in which one cell produces two new daughter cells that are genetically identical to … Continue reading Mitosis

Mother’s Mitochondria

While celebrating Mother’s Day over brunch, don’t just thank your mom for all her love and nurture, remember to also mention mitochondria, like Leah Bury, our featured artist for June, suggests in her science-y Mother’s Day card. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells, which means they generate the energy that keeps cells (and by extension you) running. Interestingly, we inherit our mitochondria entirely from … Continue reading Mother’s Mitochondria

Bees

By carrying pollen from plant to plant in their quest for nectar, bees help to facilitate plant reproduction, giving bees an essential role in the sustainability of our agriculture.  Bee populations have been threatened over the last decade by a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder, where the bees leave their hives and never return.  This year, however, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released positive … Continue reading Bees