Best Images of the Year in the World of Neuroscience

As neuroscience becomes increasingly of public interest, researchers are striving to make their findings accessible, with parallels to the pop art movement.

Credit: Chase Sherwell/QBI, Author provided

To understand how the healthy brain works and what occurs in brain disease, neuroscientists use many microscopy techniques, ranging from whole-brain human MRIs to imaging within a single neuron (brain cell), creating stunning images in the process.

Here are a selection of the best and brightest produced by scientists at the Queensland Brain Institute at The University of Queensland in 2017.


Credit: Wei ‘Leon’ Luan/QBI

This is a side view of a mouse embryo’s brain. The axons of neurons (dark blue) that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in reward and pleasure, grow towards their target brain regions.


Credit: Abdalla Mohamed, PhD student/QBI

This image shows diffusion tensor imaging, an MRI-based neuroimaging technique, revealling the fibre tracts through the corpus callosum in a rodent brain. The corpus callosum links the brain’s left and right hemispheres to each other. The colours represent the different directions that the tracts are travelling through the brain.


Small-scale wonders

The colourful image below shows the nanoscale movements of individual molecules that are critical in mediating communication between neurons. Knowing how these molecules are organised, and how they move, is at the heart of understanding the brain in health and disease.

Credit: Ravikiran Kasula/QBI


Credit: Merja Joensuu/QBI

They may look like fireworks, but this image shows nanoscopic movements of single actin molecules. Actin is an essential protein found in all cells of plants and animals, in this case, a neurosecretory cell, a specialised type of nerve cell that releases message molecules into the blood.


Credit: Lee Fletcher/QBI

This image shows the activity of a single neuron (gold) in the brain region the cortex, recorded after the surrounding neurons (cream) are…

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