Image: Pyramidal Cells in the Visual Cortex

Caption: This composite of layer 2-3 pyramidal cells in the visual cortex depicts a volley of "spikes" emerging from the cell bodies and traveling down their axons.
The pyramidal cells in the primary visual cortex process visual information received from the retina (via the lateral geniculate nucleus) and begin the task of converting the image into an understandable scene. These cells send their output to other layers within the primary visual cortex, as well as to cells in other parts of the brain.

More about this Image
This still image was derived from animations developed by Greg Hood, John Burkardt, and Greg Foss of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. The work contributed to the planetarium show "Gray Matters: The Brain Movie," which debuted in 1999 at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. With the brain's neural structure projected on the 3D space of the planetarium dome, "Gray Matters" offers an interactive, multi-media lesson in the science of the brain for children and adults.
"Gray Matters" was a collaboration among the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC). The work was supported in part by National Science Foundation (NSF) grant 97-05491.
In 1987, the PSC biomedical program became the first extramural biomedical supercomputing program in the country, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Since then, with support from the NIH National Center for Research Resources, PSC has fostered exchange between PSC expertise in computational science and experts in biology and medicine to solve important problems in the life sciences.
Through the NSF, PSC provides access to LeMieux, a 3,000 processor terascale system capable of six trillion computations per second. As of March 2003, with support from NIH and NSF, PSC has also installed two 16-processor HP GS-1280 based systems. These two shared memory systems, with very high memory bandwidth -- named "Jonas" and "Rachel" for famous Pittsburgh scientists Jonas Salk and Rachel Carson -- will be upgraded to larger systems.
In addition to training and access to computational resources, the biomedical group carries out research in structural biology, protein and nucleic-acid sequence analysis, computational neuroscience, and microphysiology. In the latter fields, PSC staff work in developing and conducting research with widely used applications software, including MCell, NEOSIM, and PGenesis.

Credit: Image courtesy of Greg Hood, John Burkardt, Greg Foss; Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

Year of Image:1999
Source: NSF Image Library
NSF Funded: Yes
NSF Permission to Use: yes Internal and External
In Image Library: Yes

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