NeuroBead

Intricate beadwork meets precision of confocal microscopy

Yana Zorina, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist with a lifelong passion for the arts. In her scientific career, Yana has always been attracted to microscopy as a means to take a closer look at the beautiful structures that compose the mammalian brain. In her scientifically-inspired artwork, she uses her scientific knowledge to accurately recreate scientific images into 3D-beaded renderings of cellular structures that can bring the beauty of scientific research to a wider audience. In seeing beads as analogs of pixels that we observe on a screen, Yana turns microscopy on its head by transforming ultra-thin optical sections into 3D structures. Beyond being passionate about the breathtaking beauty of microscopy images, Yana uses them to serve a greater purpose of communicating science to a wider audience and initiating conversations on difficult topics, such as neurological conditions.

Despite significant progress in scientific research in the field, neurological disorders remain shrouded in a veil of stigma. While foundations work on raising public awareness of these conditions, patients often feel uncomfortable in sharing their experiences with others. Art is a universal language that has been used for centuries to communicate complex concepts in an approachable way. From physical nerve injury to psychiatric disorders, art can aid patients in positively reframing their conversations with a wider audience. The beauty of biological images can fascinate and attract more people to learning more about what happens beneath the surface.

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