Greetings! This website is a showcase of neuroscientific images, from artists across the world and across time. Instead of the brain at large, the artwork you will find here is centred on the microscopic circuitry that makes up the brain.

These images are reproduced here for educational and aesthetic purposes. Most can be easily found on the web using a search engine or via the author's website. Before reproducing any of these images, please check the licence terms of the original author.

If you wish to contribute or share your work, the curator can be reached via e-mail at Thanks, and enjoy!

Last updated: 07 March 2021 — Hosting 113 images

In 2014, a research team led by Etsuo Susaki and Hiroki Ueda at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) in Japan developed a 3D tissue clearing technology called CUBIC, which can image the whole body at the single-cell level by making tissue transparent.

While tissue clearing can result in fantastical images, by itself it does not have much scientific value. In order for tissue clearing to be meaningful, scientists need to be able to stain and label specific tissues and cell types, which can then be studied. This requires a system that works with a wide range of staining agents and antibodies. Although several types of 3D staining and labeling methods have been attempted, none has been versatile enough.

Realizing that they needed a better understanding of body tissue, the team at BDR and their colleagues performed detailed physical and chemical analyses. They found that biological tissues can be defined as a type of electrolyte gel.

Based on the tissue properties they discovered, they constructed a screening system to examine a series of conditions using artificial gels that can mimic biological tissues. By analyzing the staining and antibody labeling of artificial gels with CUBIC, they were able to establish a fine-tuned, versatile 3D-staining/imaging method, which they named CUBIC-HistoVIsion.

By analyzing the staining and antibody labeling of artificial gels with CUBIC, they were able to establish a fine-tuned, versatile 3D-staining/imaging method, which they named CUBIC-HistoVIsion. By using this optimized system with high-speed 3D microscopic imaging, they succeeded in staining and imaging the whole brain of a mouse, half a marmoset brain, and a square centimeter of human brain tissue. Whole-body 3D imaging of an infant marmoset was also successful. The system worked well with about 30 different antibodies and nuclear staining agents, making it useful for scientists in many different fields, from studying the brain to studying kidney function.

Source: RIKEN, Apr. 2020

Links to other galleries

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The retina of the eye is a complex structure, that exists with some diversity in the natural world. By juxtaposing samples of species from mammalian to amphibian, this comprehensive collection highlights their architecture and organisation in an accessible manner.

By Nicolás Cuenca at the Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, University of Alicante, Spain

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Eyewire is a crowd-sourced science project, where many people from around the globe collaborate on reconstructing the three-dimensional morphology of neurons on the basis of a series of two-dimensional scans. The scans are made using an electron microscope, and this virtual museum exhibits the resulting detailed anatomical models. As tissue is scanned a block at a time, the method beautifully illustrates the network of all neurons that occur in each block.

By Sebastian Seung at Princeton University, USA

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Animated, time-lapse image sequences exhibit the intra- and extracellular dynamics of living neurons in vitro. In addition to migration and outgrowth of new neurites, fluorescent dyes beautifully capture the dynamics of intracellular protein trafficking and organelles.

By Robert S. McNeil and Baylor College of Medicine

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A beautifully illustrated, open-access paper, describing the growth in insight and understanding of synaptic function over the past 50 years.

By Kristen M. Harris at The University of Texas at Austin, USA