Flower of Retina

Year: 
2017
Ranking: 
Entrant
Artist: 
Alexander Smolentsev, Meghna Rao
Department: 
Neuroscience Research Institute
Lab: 
Thomson Lab

Description

Art is a beautiful aesthetic experience that is perceived by our brain due to the majestic dance of photons that rain upon our retina. Here you see the vasculature of the retina arranged in the form of the flower of life, a 6000 year old pattern built on the principles of sacred geometry.

The image before you is a composite of multiple microscopic images derived from a trypsin-digested retina from a Nile Rat. Trypsin is a digestive enzyme that is capable of removing neurons, but not the vasculature. The vasculature is surrounded by a protein coat that prevents digestion. If you look carefully, you can see tiny ovals, which are the nuclei of the endothelial cells that create the blood vessels. The darker circles are pericytes, which are the supporter cells. The purpose of the trypsin-digest is to study the effects of diabetic retinopathy on the retina’s vasculature.

CSEP CNSI Schuller Lab UCSB