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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Now showing at Strathmore

‘Microscopy as Masterpiece’ Exhibits NIH-Funded Images

A psychedelic slice of a mouse brain

Random mixing of fluorescent dyes created this psychedelic slice of a mouse brain. Known as “brainbow,” the technique allows scientists to distinguish nearby cells by color and has helped advance the NIH Human Connectome Project.

Photo: Jean Livet, Tamily A. Weissman, Jeff W. Lichtman, Harvard University

Image of a mouse retina

The pinpricks of light in this starry night sky are actually green fluorescent protein, marking specific cells in a mouse retina. This detailed image was made using large-scale mosaic confocal microscopy, a technique that, like Google Earth, computationally stitches together many small, high-resolution images.

Photo: Keunyoung Kim, Wonkyu Ju and Mark Ellisman, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Diego

Image of two neurons

This composite image shows two neurons in the locust brain (one colored orange, one colored blue) that process information about odors.

Photo: Mark Stopfer, NICHD

Colorful scientific images and videos from NIH researchers and grantees greet attendees at Strathmore Mansion’s “Arts & the Brain” lecture series. The digital presentation, displayed on a large flatscreen monitor, features nerve cells in jelly bean colors, star-shaped glial cells, a flyover of boutons bursting with synaptic vesicles and much more.

“Attendees have been taken with the beauty of these images,” said Lauren Campbell, director of education at Strathmore and mastermind of the Arts & the Brain program. “The Microscopy as Masterpiece exhibit adds a surprising and delightful visual and concrete element to the lectures.”

Campbell created the lecture series to appeal to the community’s interest in blending art and science. “Many people in Strathmore’s orbit are both science-focused and arts-focused, and have lots of talent in both areas,” she said.

With NIH and Strathmore just one Metro stop apart, a collaboration seemed natural. The digital exhibit grew out of a conversation Campbell had with a musician who performed at the mansion—and also happened to be an NIH employee.

The final lecture in the 2017 Arts & the Brain series, titled “Medical Avatar,” will be on Thursday, June 1. For information, see

Tickets to the lecture cost $25. Viewing the Microscopy as Masterpiece exhibit before or after each lecture is free.

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