Painting Neurons

Painting Neurons

Byunguk Kang, Michael Murphy, Serwah Danquah, Nhan Huynh, Samouil L. Farhi, Ernest Fraenkel

Broad Institute, MIT Department of Biological Engineering

Neurons, a type of nerve cell, relay electric impulses and chemical signals across the brain to serve as information messengers. Signals are propagated along long processes (neurites) and relayed to another neuron’s body (soma). It is thus important to study how different genes influence neuronal morphology such as neurite length, arborization (how neurons branch out and connect to each other) and soma shape. This image is the result of computationally tracing individual neurons derived from human stem cells from a pool of 20 different genetic backgrounds. Each unique color, up to 20 different colors, represents each genetic background. This labelling approach and computational method allow researchers to identify which genes were knocked down in each cell and study their effect on neuronal morphology and health.

brightly colored neurons like an abstract painting on a black canvas

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