Wednesday, January 16, 2008

When we create our fabric art -- are we reproducing the things we see around us or inside of us? Jeff W. Lichtman, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, has won an art award while finding a way to map the brain through florescence. He has named the technique for staining cells and then fluorescing them as 'brainbow' -- a rainbow of the brain kind of concept.

You can listen to an audio recording of a Science Friday program where Dr. Lichtman discusses the process.

Not only is this a beautiful process, it could also be a useful tool in untangling the problems that motor neuron diseases cause in the human brain and cells. For years the researchers have been able to follow one nerve connection, for example, but everything was stained the same color so following multiple connections became difficult. With this multi-colored approach, the entire structure can be seen in its individual parts via colorization.

So the next time you close your eyes and visualize some strange terrain to incorporate into your next fabric creation -- think about it -- are you seeing something external or truly internal structure. Perhaps there is a corollary between what we see in the world and what is inside of us as well.

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