Updates from November, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • helen 17:20 on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Here it is! 

    HK012 showing efferents turning and afferents alongside (1)

  • helen 17:13 on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Just had the most exhilarating day in the lab.
    The nerves I dyed yesterday took the stain up beautifully and I got some really juicy (it’s the only word I can currently think of sorry- it’s been a long day) images to analyse. Even though I have seen axons and cell bodies before, the way they dance around each other never fails to inspire me.

    Fabiana joked that she’d find me by the microscope half dead tomorrow morning because I’d been up all night staring at the axons, but she’s only half joking because looking under that microscope does truly transport you to another bubble where everything is developing and looks like the stars. I could be in that world for a long time.

    There is so much intricate detail within each axon and I love that each axon is different, yet reliably structured (apart from a few who just wander off day dreaming). I wish that I could articulate the experience better but it’s truly one of those things that even pictures and words don’t do justice.

    I wonder if when I understand what I’m seeing better (for example. I’ll know I’m looking at efferents, not just beautiful stringy pieces of brain matter), that awe I have for what I see will diminish, but looking at the way Fabiana reacts to the images she sees I doubt that will be the case because it’s still as though she is seeing things for the first time when she looks down the microscope.

    I haven’t quite figured out how to post a photo yet but when I do I will so you can share in at least a little part of the joy I get from looking at these neurons!

    • kubke 22:01 on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      The marvel has never faded for me. Almost every prep has something special :) For me today it was imagining those axons using their filopodia to poke at each other. I hope I didn’t leave a bruise in your arm in the process of enjoying those!

  • helen 18:43 on November 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    The size of things 

    Today’s lab lesson was on the size of things.

    I guess that’s only natural because the fields of embryology and microscopy are both particularly concerned with the concept of size (is it a concept?). I always find it amusing when I try desperately hard to finely dissect out the heart or the rhomboncephelon and then I take it outside of the petri dish and onto a tissue where I look at it macroscopically and it’s the tiniest piece of sludge.

    To me at least that’s what it looks like, but I know deep down that it is much more structured and complex than that. That is then further confirmed when you look at things on the precious Nikon microscope and realise that the nerve itself isn’t small, the axons of the individual neurons are.

    It makes me wonder how narrow our ability to perceive things is, based on our spectrum of visible light and the ‘zoom’ we have. I wonder how many things I take for granted as being just a piece of sludge when really it’s an intricately developed organ.

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