What’s that, neuron?

Melody Leong, Yuqing Yang
Created | 2022

Neurons are the fundamental building blocks of our nervous systems, allowing our brains and bodies to communicate. Neurons are connected to neighbouring neurons through small junctions called synapses. Information is transmitted from one cell to the next across synapses via electrical impulses that run along tiny fibres, like electricity flowing through wires.

Since methods of studying this phenomenon in living brains are limited, researcher Melody grows (or cultures) neurons in a dish to investigate how certain genetic mutations affect the way neurons interact, and how disruptions that arise from these mutations contribute to neurodevelopmental diseases.

The video is a compilation of high-resolution microscope images, collected with the assistance of Yuqing, which capture various top-down cross-sections throughout a neuron harbouring one of these mutations.

Images like these offer invaluable insights into how mutations in neurons alter normal neurodevelopmental processes and could reveal new therapeutic targets to improve or prevent neurodevelopmental disorders.