Ann Marie Macara, Graduate Student (Ye Laboratory), Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan
This is an image of a fruit fly brain. This part of the brain processes sensory information from the environment and translates it into behavior. Each pink blob represents a single brain cell or neuron. Neurons are connected to each other to create a network, much like a computer circuit. These connections are shown here in blue and green. In terms of how simple circuits are organized, fly brains are surprisingly similar to human brains. Researchers study these simple brains to obtain insight into how more complex brains, such as ours, function to process information. Understanding how neurons within the circuit talk to each other is an important step to finding treatments for brain disorders and repairing traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries.