Arts in Science Competition: Winner!

Emory recently held an Arts in Science Competition and I submitted an entry for the fun of it and won for "scientific merit"!  I spend a decent amount of time underneath a microscope looking at brains, and frankly some of it looks pretty cool.  A lot of people don't know a lot about what I do in school....check out the picture and description below for a small insight into what it is I do on campus:

What you are viewing is a section of a mouse brain following stroke.  The blue circles represent the nuclei of healthy neurons in the cerebral cortex;  the green shows a section of a blood vessel;  the distinct, sharp red lines represent the processes of astrocytes, the support cells of the brain.  What sticks out in particular in this image is the sharp red astrocytic processes that wrap around the green vessel:  this tight association of astrocyte and blood vessel is what forms the basis of the blood brain barrier.  The blood brain barrier is what protects our brain from unwanted bacteria, viruses, toxins, and foreign material circulating in the blood that was not meant to come into contact with nervous tissue.  More importantly, what sticks out in this image is the stark delineation between tissue with a diffuse blue background (the cortex and top 2/3 of the image) and tissue with a diffuse purple/red background (the bottom third of the image).  This diffuse reddish area at the bottom third of the image is part of the corpus collosum, a bundle of fibers that form a physical connection between the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain.  On a literal level, this bundle of fibers allows for communication between the two sides of the brain.  On a figurative level, the cross talk provided by this structure allows for the integration of the "left brain" and the "right brain", or more simply put: allows us to use the artistic and scientific parts of our brain as one and generate the works of art being presented here tonight

Papers for Mac/iPad

Anyone involved in the sciences, whether it be graduate students/post-docs/professors/whoever, face a common problem: the organization of papers....pdf journal articles from peer reviewed papers.  As a graduate student, one great solution to this problem I have discovered is Papers (  Papers is like iTunes for scientific journal articles.  It allows you to store, organize, annotate, etc scientific journal articles on your mac.  It will also store all the relevant citation information in the metadata for each paper.  This is really handy when it comes to writing.  It is similar to Mendeley (free download from, however I think the functionality of Papers meets my needs better.  Furthermore, with the Papers for iPad app, I can wirelessly sync my Papers library on my mac with my iPad and access it offline anywhere in the world.  I love this function.  Mendeley requires setting up an account online and what not, something Papers does not.  I wish the viewable screen area of the iPad were the standard 8.5x11, but I'm getting used to reading on it.  Anyway, if you're working in science and have a Mac and/or an iPad/iPhone, check out Papers.  I love it so far. Note: In order to wirelessly sync Papers for iPad and Papers on your Mac, your network needs to support bonjour traffic.  If it does not (like my university), create a wireless network on your mac under the airport menu and connect your iPad/iPhone to your computer's network.  Open Papers on the Mac and open Papers on the iPad/iPhone and it will sync.  Google this if you have problems.  Cheers!