An Artists’ View of Nerves and Spinal Cord Injury at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

10 May

Biomedical engineers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY, USA) have come up with a creative way to bring their research on healing spinal cord injury to the public!

Through a collaboration with artists from the College of Saint Rose, researchers from Rensselaer have created an exhibition entitled A Walk Through the Nervous System: Artists’ View of Nerves and Spinal Cord Injury.” The exhibition opens to the public tomorrow, 11th of May,  in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer.

 The exhibit focuses on work investigating stem cell technologies and spinal cord injury, currently being carried out in the laboratories of Assistant Professor Guohao Dai and Assistant Professor Ryan Gilbert at Rensselaer. The creation of the exhibition pieces was led by Assistant Professor of Art at Saint Rose, G.E. Washington.

Speaking about the exhibition, Gilbert said “We really want to use this collaboration as a way to interest younger students in our research and educate the public on the devastating results of spinal cord injury.”

“These cells are things that people can’t imagine. We are trying to give people a personal and direct connection with that tiny, tiny world of the nervous system” said Washington.

Included in the exhibit are a large inflatable sculpture of a ganglion knot, and a projection of light and pictures portraying how nerve cells react when damaged through spinal cord injury. Both pieces represent the laboratories’ work into understanding and rebuilding damaged nerve cells

A human-scale and three-dimensional version of a human spinal cord astrocyte cell, made from printed and folded paper.


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