The hippocampus, like other parts of the brain, contains many types of neurons (nerve cells), which send information to each other across junctions known as synapses. Within the hippocampus, these individual components can work together to generate dreams – literally nature’s dream team. At EMBL, we also have many dream teams – groups of individuals who support each other, innovate, and work together. One of those dream teams bridges two core facilities at EMBL Rome.
The Histology Service and the Microscopy Facility work seamlessly together: a dream team for producing stunning images, such as this one of a mouse’s hippocampus. “The mission of our facilities is to provide access to state-of-the-art techniques and to further develop technology for the benefit of researchers,” says Alvaro Crevenna, Head of the Microscopy Facility.
In this cross-section of the hippocampus, we can see specialised brain regions such as the thalamus, which is involved in regulating consciousness, sleep, and alertness. The coloured dots represent individual RNA molecules, which are distributed across the tissue and show the activity of specific genes. The dominance of one colour over another indicates a higher expression of a particular gene in that area.
Both Alvaro and Emerald Perlas, Head of the Histology Facility, know that the technology needed to visualise individual RNA molecules within cells and tissues can only be developed through cooperation between scientists from different fields.
By combining expertise from each facility, the scientists can develop and implement novel, complex techniques for imaging biological specimens. They also provide expertise and technical support to colleagues and external collaborators, enabling them to answer biological questions. The core facility dream team supports all aspects of the process from sample preparation to imaging and data analysis.
Credit: Alvaro Crevenna/EMBL
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