Climbing plants often weave themselves around nearby structures for support. They can even be trained to bloom in specific shapes. This greenery is much smaller than the average garden – networks of rat neurons coloured with green fluorescence, each 10,000-times thinner than a clematis stem. Pictured from above, the neurons grow along tiny beds of man-made pillars called nanowires; each bed is traced out with yellow dots. The nanowires are different distances apart in each bed, testing how far the cells are willing to grow out to connect with neighbouring neurons. These artificial networks are thriving with nervous impulses – raising hopes for the development of neuroprosthetic scaffolds, grown to plug holes in the human nervous system.
Written by John Ankers
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.