Part I: Blurring boundaries while staying focused

Microscope expert Chad Johnson spent time with Louise Beer scanning through some gorgeous fluorescently labelled brain sections prepared by Kouichi Nakamura. Kouichi’s research is on the thalamus, which is a key brain region involved in sensory perception and regulation of motor function.

On the slides Chad and Louise were looking at, a series of molecular markers had been used in a process called immunofluorescence to illustrate different (neuro)chemical architectures between thalamic nuclei to try and understand their function.

Part of Louise’s interest in this work was due to the remarkable magnifications possible with this sort of microscope, with an intriguing comparison to telescopes used to look at very large objects great distances from us in space. This leads on to observations about scale and universal form, and the diversity in what can be seen in these magnified worlds. Obviously what we see down a microscope isn’t just objective (lens).

Purkinje neuron

A fluorescently labelled purkinje neuron. Image credit: Kouichi Nakamura.

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  1. [...] to this previous post for more about Louise’s visit to use a microscope at the ANU. Louise Beer, The End of [...]