Pilar Rivero-Ríos, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Weisman Laboratory), Life Sciences Institute and Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan
This image shows rat neurons in a cell culture dish. These neurons are from a region in the brain known as the hippocampus, which is involved in learning and memory as well as emotional response and spatial navigation. The name hippocampus derives from the Greek word “hippokampos” (hippo – horse; kampos – sea monster), because the shape of this brain region resembles a seahorse. The large branching projections of these cells form connections (called synapses) with other neurons, which allows the cells to “talk” to each other by sending and receiving signals. We can study these connections in the culture dish to better understand the signaling dynamics involved in this crosstalk, which is critical for all the functions of the hippocampus.