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brain cartoon

Axotomy!

I can’t really claim a deep interest in manga as the inspiration for this and much as I like Japanese artists like Hokusai (my toilet wall is a giant mural of the Great Wave) neither is his influence evident here. I’m afraid the reality is that I was a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja […]

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brain

Pyramidal neuron

Trying to weigh up the relative importance of different types of neuron is pretty much a waste of time. Despite this many neuroscientists have their favourites, just as many geneticists have their favourite gene and I imagine astronomers have their favourite galaxy. Some will glory in finding the most obscure or quirky example, some will […]

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brain

Axon targetting

Every developing axon has a specific target that it wants to reach such as a motor neuron growing to a certain muscle. However, the axon does not the luxury of a video feed: when it leaves the spinal cord it cannot see its target which might be a muscle at the end of a limb. […]

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brain

Electric signalling

My first venture into the flickering world of GIFs. Animation brings infinite possibilities but as many overenthusiastic Powerpoint users have found to their cost, just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Effective animation is a highly skilled artform in its own right, as beautifully explained in the classic Animator’s Survival […]

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brain

Glutamate gives you strength!

When the electrical signal carried by a nerve reaches the end of the cell there is a physical gap before the next nerve cell. To maintain the connection, neurotransmitters, such as glutamate or serotonin, are released by the electrical impulse. These diffuse across the gap, called a synapse, and bind to receptors on the next […]

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brain

Brain training 3

The final part of the trilogy after part 1 and part 2.. I’m pleased with Sylvester’s chin and eyebrows and the slight grin of triumph as the montage reaches its climax! Rocky! Rocky!! ROCKY!!! And if you’ve got the tune stuck in your head now, my work here is done… This design is available on […]

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brain

Brain training 2

This is the sequel to part 1. In the first one, the background steps and the blue hat are visual clues to the film sequence that this parodies. These iconic features are not visible on the indoor shots so I started developing the resemblance to Sylvester Stallone. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, combining the cell with […]

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brain

Brain training 1

This is the first of a trio of cartoons that were inspired by a trip to Philadelphia. I drew them before I went and combined them into an animated montage in the style of film credits for a talk I was giving. I did of course climb these same steps to visit the fantastic art […]

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brain

Neurons v Glia

We used to have lab meetings in a room that had a printout on the wall of one of those grids of how post-docs, technicians, PIs, PhD students are viewed by each other. That got me thinking, on a smaller scale, of the same opinions played out between neuronal and glial biologists. Everyone thinks of […]

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brain cell

Synaptic pruning

Synapses are the connections between nerve cells and the number and density of them is linked to how networks form in brain. Microglia are cells that patrol the brain to remove debris and foreign objects such as pathogens. They also modify neuronal networks by nibbling away synaptic contacts, hence the term ‘synaptic pruning’. This isn’t […]