Nicole Leung and Tyler Ogunmowo from Craig Montell’s laboratory win the 2017 UCSB Art of Science competition

Mar 20, 2017

The Art of Science competition is an annual event where undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs are invited to submit images that "capture the imagination and share the beauty of science." The event is hosted and sponsored by The Schuller Lab and the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP) at the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI) together with the College of Creative Studies and UCSB Library. This year was the 4th annual competition. Over 60 submissions were received this year and the award ceremony was held on March 15. First place winners were Nicole Leung and Tyler Ogunmowo from Craig Montell’s laboratory for their piece titled "Neuronas o árboles?”. The winning pieces will be on exhibit at the UCSB Library, UCSB Art, Design and Architecture Museum, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Neuronas o árboles? The main taste organ of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is the labellum, which is equivalent to the human tongue. The labellum has two sponge-like lobes used to collect food. Within the lobes are branching neurons important for detecting toxic substances flies must avoid to survive. This work is inspired by Santiago Ramón y Cajal, who is the father of modern neuroscience. Immunohistochemistry was performed on labella dissected from adult flies. This technique allows for selective imaging of antigens (e.g. proteins) in tissues by using specific antibodies. The flies contain a transgene that allows for expression of green fluorescent protein in TRPA1-expressing gustatory receptor neurons. The fluorescent signal was amplified using an antibody against green fluorescent protein. The image was acquired by confocal microscopy using the Zeiss LSM 700, and processed using ImageJ and Prisma (mosaic filter).

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