July 15, 2016

Astrocytes featured as art at Ann Arbor Art Fair 2016

(c) Bioartography

It’s Art Fair in Ann Arbor, MI, from July 21 – 24, 2016. Come and visit the BioArtography booth on East University Ave (booth 112).

BioArtography comes from the University of Michigan’s basic science labs, where researchers add stains to microscopic tissues to observe their structures under the microscope. Researchers are encouraged to photograph results they find particularly eye-catching or scientifically interesting and submit the images, which are collected and presented to a jury of arts professionals each spring. That jury selects 15 images to be printed on notecards, enlarged and framed, or transferred directly onto canvases and featured at the BioArtography booth during the annual art fair.

This year, Cynthia J. DeLong, Ph.D.'s image won the most votes for inclusion in this year's collection. She works as part of the Prechter bipolar research team in our stem cell lab and photographed astrocytes.

"Bipolar disorder is a severe mood disorder that affects more than 5.7 million adult Americans. The complex causes that lead to biochemical imbalances in the brain are difficult to study in patients themselves. We now have the technology to “reprogram” patient skin cells into different types of brain cells, like the astrocytes shown here, and culture them in the lab. Astrocytes play a crucial role in maintaining the chemical environment of the brain; disruption of normal astrocyte function has been implicated in many neuropsychiatric disorders. The ability to culture astrocytes and other brain cells derived from healthy and affected individuals gives us an opportunity to study the cell biology of bipolar disorder in depth with the goal of improving treatments." - Cynthia DeLong, Ph.D., Research Lab Specialist Senior

Proceeds from sales at the fair booth, or online at the BioArtography website, allow students and postdoctoral fellows who are training in U-M labs to attend scientific conferences.