Welcome to NeuroBead!
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Yana Zorina, and I am a cellular neuroscientist with a life long passion for the arts. While the notion may be a bit outdated, it has traditionally been thought that logical thinking and scientific reasoning is primarily driven by the left hemisphere of the brain, whereas the right hemisphere has more creative and artistic inclinations. Each person is thought to be driven by one side more than the other. Reflecting on my childhood, I have spent most of my spare time immersing myself in intricate artwork and detailed craftsmanship, including anything from painting to crocheting and lacemaking. Paradoxically, in school I was primarily attracted to exact sciences such as mathematics, chemistry and later, not so exact biology. My brain strived to understand how the world works at the most basic level, invisible to the naked eye.
After toying around with the idea of becoming a professional artist, I decided to dedicate my career to my innate curiosity about how the human body works, zooming into the mysterious labyrinth of the brain as early as junior high school. While the field of neuroscience has always attracted me due to the central role of the brain in controlling the rest of the body, I was also in for some pleasant surprises. It turned out that neurons (and glia) not only carry out complex functions, but also have amazingly beautiful, complex morphology. With the development of state of the art microscopy techniques, images of neurons and glia have taken the center stage in adorning the walls of most Neuroscience departments in academic research centers across the country.
Confocal microscopy in particular has been near an dear to my heart throughout my graduate and postdoctoral training. The basic concept of confocal microscopy is focused on imaging a very thin optical slice of the sample. Despite focusing on a very thin section, neuronal images can present incredibly complex cellular morphology, which when combined with multicolor imaging, clearly calls for artistic rendering of the image. As a child, I have spent a lot of time creating French beaded flowers. Later, while imaging immunofluorescently labeled cells, I began to associate bright, colorful pixels with beads, which could be used to render the cellular structures observed under a microscope. And so NeuroBead was born.
Come check out my first pieces at the following links and stay tuned to read more about the inspiration behind NeuroBead.