The power of interdisciplinary collaboration and observations from nature for life changing discoveries
The Arts, Sciences, Engineering, and Nature: A game to help neuroscience research, a fish to help cure diseases, fascinating findings from “The Koch Institute Public Galleries”
During a recent trip to Massachusetts, I had a couple of hours to stroll around Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was fascinated with my findings. Walking on Main Street, I saw art work displayed with striking colors through the window and decided to check it out. It turned out to be what is known as “The Koch Institute Public Galleries”.
The Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, located at the MIT campus, is a cancer research center with multidisciplinary researchers from across biology, chemistry, mechanical engineering, material science, and other disciplines.
The Koch Institute Public Galleries displays striking images of cutting edge science and technological innovations in cancer research. They closely show the connection of art, nature, and technology and demonstrate the significant role that nature plays for life changing discoveries and innovations. Did you know that studying a tropical freshwater minnow known as the Zebrafish can help identify genetic conditions that lead to cures for devastating diseases such as cancer?
Here are some of my favorite pieces from the gallery.
Pathways of nerve fibers through the brain in three dimensions
Zeynep Saygin, Kanwisher Laboratory, MIT Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences
This image shows the pathways of nerve fibers through the brain in three dimensions; up/down in blue, front/back in green, left/right in red. Studying these maps of connectivity, helps researchers understand healthy brain development and enable earlier diagnosis and interventions for conditions such as autism and dyslexia.
A game for mapping the 3D structure of our neurons
This image shows ganglion cells in the retina generated from EyeWire. EyeWire is a game for mapping the 3D structure of our neurons built by researchers from Seung Lab at MIT. This way, anyone, anywhere in the world with no background in neuroscience can participate in this game and contribute to neuroscience research. This helps researchers discover how neurons connect and network to process information. In order to study and look at structure of neurons, researchers have to analyze many images, and need human intelligence to help analyze the images. The player starts with a segment of a neuron and is tasked to find the rest of the neuron.
A fish that can help identify genetic conditions that lead to cures for cancer and muscular diseases
Annie Cavanagh, David McCarthy School of Pharmacy University College London
Did you know that studying a tropical freshwater minnow known as the zebrafish can help identify genetic conditions that lead to cures for devastating diseases such as cancer?
In fact, It shares 70% of our genetic code, it is transparent and can repair its own heart!
By mapping the zebrafish genome and studying irregularities in their development, researchers have been able to create models of how vertebrates develop, and identify genetic conditions that lead to diseases such as cancer. This image shows a false-color scanning electron micrograph of a zebrafish embryo.