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