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Emma Sudria - Iasrtmyscience.tif
Firing together 
Theme
Cells and Tissues
Type 
Photograph 
Year
2020
Inspiration and composition

 

In the photograph five neurons are visible in black. But there are a lot of other cells present too. Emma chose to illustrate this by visualizing all cell nuclei -this is where the DNA is kept-in red, to create a metaphor of an explosion. The result is an abstract expressionist artwork. This specific image is not precisely in focus and didn’t provide much data for Emma’s research. Like abstract splashes of paint on a canvas, it serves a purely aesthetical purpose. 

 

Still, ‘Firing together’ emphasizes an important point that Emma wants to make. The culture of motor neurons is not pure at all and depends on the presence of a lot of other cell types in the dish to support neuronal function.

This became one of the focuses of Emma’s research.  “With this image, I wanted to portray the critical role of other cell types to maintain and support neuronal function. Glial cells - traditionally thought to be just the “glue” of the nervous system - are increasingly recognized as important contributors to neurodegenerative diseases.” 

‘Firing together’ is like a lucky bad shot. This is typical for science and art. Something goes wrong, one makes a mistake and it opens up a new direction that leads them to their biggest discoveries. 

The artist

About Emma Sudria Lopez 

In her PhD, Emma studied the mechanisms that make motor neurons degenerate in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). For her research, Emma cultured motor neurons since ALS specifically affects this subset of cells. 

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