Branched synaptic arbor in fillet

The Drosophila neuromuscular junction is a beautiful and yet powerful model synapse for in vivo studies of development, physiology, cell biology and plasticity. This illustration by Saskia Van Vactor shows a field of ventral longitudinal body wall muscles in red, as if stained with phalloidin to highlight filamentous actin, the main protein building block of muscle. Against this background, several branches of intersegmental nerve extend … Continue reading Branched synaptic arbor in fillet


The Brain is a Series of Tubes

The brain is made of up billions of neurons and even more connections between neurons. We can get an idea of how neurons are connected across the human brain using a type of brain scan called diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI). How does dMRI work? It actually measures the direction that water moves throughout the brain. Sometimes, water can move in all directions equally easily – like … Continue reading The Brain is a Series of Tubes

GFAP-Coronin1a Yu Wang

Retinal Corona

Image contributed by Yu Wang, a third year graduate student at Harvard Medical School. Glial cells support the proper function of neuronal cell types and are also responsible for cleaning up cell debris such as leftover neurotransmitter molecules (what neurons use to communicate with each other). Certain types of glia, called microglia, function as the first line of defense in immune-privileged places such as the … Continue reading Retinal Corona

044, BPAE CELLS - cryo-lysed 2.65mb


This is a layer of epithelial cells that was subjected to sever freeze-thaw cycles before being imaged at 400x magnification, which caused the membranes to rupture and form these arrays of crystal-like structures. When frozen, the water inside the cells expands, breaking through the cell membrane. With the membrane integrity compromised, when the cells are thawed the water inside leaks out, the fragments of membrane form aggregates, … Continue reading Cryolysed

119. INTERFERENCE RINGS confocal 3mb

Just a Phase

The patterns seen here are called interference rings, or Newton’s rings, and are generated when light waves reflect off of two glass surfaces that are in very close proximity to each other, such as a glass microscope slide and a cover slip. Imperfections in the glass cause the waves to be reflected at different points of the wave. Where you see bright rings, two waves … Continue reading Just a Phase



These images show cross sections of the different compartments of the developing gut in a chick embryo: esophagus (top), small intestine (middle), and large intestine (bottom), at days 6, 8, 10, and 14 (left to right). As the chick develops, the shape of the gut changes from a simple tube to a more complex form with specific surface folding patterns. The way the surface is … Continue reading Tubular