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Stanford University School of Medicine

Art of Neuroscience competition highlights beauty of the brain

neuro art contest finalist

I'll admit that I'm a sucker for neuroscience research. Who doesn't want to know how and why we behave the way we do? Or how a bunch of mushy grey goo can make us witty or wise?

It turns out that in addition to being fascinating, neuroscience is also quite beautiful. The Stanford Neurosciences Institute recently announced the eleven finalists in their Art of Neuroscience competition, which was open to anyone studying the brain, nervous system or behavior -- and the images are incredible. The finalists are posted on their website.

Some images show the simple elegance of a neuron, or the intricate patterns of cells that relay visual information to the brain. Others look more like abstract art, like one that shows connections across the brain. One of my favorites is a pen and ink illustration of neurons "snuggling in a sea of glia" (glia are cells that surround and support neurons).

Taken together, the images reflect the range of neuroscience research taking place within the institute, from studying basic processes and understanding how those pieces fit together to interfacing the brain with technology and treating illness.

Still no word on why we are witty or wise, but the images reveal a lot about what's going on inside that mushy grey goo of ours.

Image by Daniel Friedman/lab of Deborah Gordon, PhD

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