In 2012, Dr. Jennifer Peters and Dr. Michael Taylor captured an image of the blood-brain barrier in a live zebrafish embryo. The technique that was utilized to produce such a fascinating photo is known as confocal. In a sense, both doctors worked to acquire a series of images, taken at a top intensity projection, which were then assigned different colors based on their relative positions. The colors had to be assigned since the collection of images were gathered at both visible and non-visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. In doing so, the color scheme proved to be not only appealing to the eye of its observer, but it also detailed the spatial arrangement of this complex biological structure. While it won first place in the Photomicrography Competition, this image of the blood-brain barrier illustrates arguably one of the most highly studied and intriguing aspects in developing embryos. In short, the blood-brain barrier provides a highly-selective permeable membrane, or barrier, that separates circulating blood in the brain from the extracellular fluid of the central nervous system. It basically allows for the passage of the necessary elements involved in an organisms’ brain development and function while simultaneously restricting any potentially-damaging neurotoxins from entering.
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The specimen in the container appears to be a maggot or insect larvae of some kind. The sex of the insect is unclear. The organism is about 2.4 cm in length and 0.5 cm in width. The central section of the body appears slightly thicker and a lighter shade of brown in comparison to the anterior and posterior ends. What I believe is the head is also the darkest in appearance and seems to carry the highest concentration of sensory features. The entire body of the organism is sparsely covered with hairs. Its body is segmented and has six identifiable limbs closer to the anterior of the body. There are other limb-like features concentrated towards the middle of the body as well. Most of its movements seem to be generated from what I believe is the head of the body, although these wriggle-type movements are seen throughout other parts of the organism. The arrangement of its limbs may suggest a sort of bilateral symmetry within the organism. The organism seems to rely on its limbs closest to the anterior of the body to rearrange body position when flipped on its back. The organism often will raise its anterior segment with the help of its forelimbs up the wall of the container as if trying to escape. It appears to move along the walls of the container and seems to be reluctant when placed in the center, as it immediately returns to the outer edges. There’s an apparent blood vessel that can be observed along the back of the organism which constantly, but faintly changes colors.