“Doing the Cajal” for a living

Greg-DunnThe first assignment of the class is a undoubtedly a challenge: selecting one individual neuron from a brain slice processed with Golgi stain and replicating the complex shape of neural cells by drawing it out. This is exactly what scientists such as Ramon y Cajal would do before cameras could be attached to microscopes .Considered by many as the father of neuroscience, Santiago Ramon y Cajal proposed the Neural Doctrine after spending many hours working on impressive replications of different neurons stained with Golgi.

R&C actually wanted to be an artist – however, his father wanted him to become a doctor (classic). With the medical background, R&C became chair of Normal and Pathological Histology at the university of Barcelona in 1887. He was truly a master of histology (processing of biological tissues): he perfected the Golgi stain to improve the quality of his work and, after many unbelievably precise drawings, propose the Neural Doctrine.

Greg Dunn went through a similar struggle a few years ago. He had always been into art, but got his PhD in neuroscience from Penn in 2011. Instead of working in a lab or industry, he decided to use his scientific knowledge to make amazing artistic renditions of the nervous system using a technique called microetching.


I’m posting a link to a video describing the process of microetching by Dunn. Trust me, watching this is most definitely worth 2 minutes of your life!

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