Neural cell looking for friends
2016 Fifth Place Neural cells are part of the network which sends information through our body and to and from our brain. This image shows an embryonic neural cell (in blue/green) reaching out to re-establish its connections to the network of other cells. It sits on a specially designed bed of nanofibers (shown here in purple). These nanofibers were specifically designed to mimic spinal cord tissue and encourage nerve growth. This new material is still in development, but by encouraging neural cells to grow and reconnect damaged nerves it may someday help treat spinal cord injuries.
This image originally appeared as part of Northwestern's Scientific Images Contest. The contest and subsequent exhibitions are organized by Science in Society, the university's research center for science education and public engagement. Further information and opportunities to participate are available on their website. Prints and canvas editions of these Northwestern research images can also be purchased online (with the small net profit going to science education and outreach programming in the Chicago area).
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