Where Am I? [Science Tattoo]

By Carl Zimmer | August 15, 2009 9:54 pm

pyramidal220.jpgPatrick, a research specialist in a computational memory lab, writes,

Yesterday, I got my first science tattoo — and first tattoo period — taking inspiration from you and the lovely people in the Science Tattoo Emporium.

Mine is a hippocampal neuron: specifically, a pyramidal cell found in area CA1. It’s been implicated in spatial memory, which is something my lab works on. (In rodent EEG, hippocampal “place response” has been seen in this type of neuron.)  But more than that, I find it to be one of those classically beautiful images in science.

Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement. Science nerd pride!

Click here to go to the full Science Tattoo Emporium.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium

Comments (8)

  1. mel

    i saw this tattoo in person and it’s gorgeous. yay patrick!

  2. AdamK
  3. Chad

    Being in neuroscience I would love to get a neuron tattoo but all the artists I’ve talked to have told me to stay away from thin lines since they don’t tend to age well. However, it’s still very cool.

  4. Such beauty in neuron is awesome.

  5. Jen

    Science is cool!

  6. amw

    Hmm…I work in a place cell lab and have never heard of an EEG place response. ‘Place cells’ are defined based on spike trains recorded from individual neurons. Place cells show interesting interactions with EEG rhythms, but that is not what makes them place cells.

  7. Nelson Spruston

    Patrick, this is super cool. I think it’s a neuron I reconstructed years ago and published in a 2005 J. Physiology paper (Golding et al.). It’s a beautiful neuron and it looks great as a tattoo.

  8. This is my arm. Thanks, Carl, for putting it up, and thanks to everyone else for your comments.

    Chad: I’m happy with how it’s aged. The fine lines have fared better than I expected over the year. If I were to do it again, I might have beefed them up in Photoshop just slightly.

    amw: You’re right, of course; I misspoke. I did mean unit cell (spike) recordings from rodent hippocampus. I work primarily with EEG in humans, so I tend to unfortunately equate EEG with all electrophysiology. Even when we do microwire intracranial recording in humans (before resective surgery for epilepsy), we mostly look at LFP, but we do occasionally find and analyze a spiking cell. A former lab member, Arne Ekstrom, does work with place response in humans (Ekstrom et al., Nature, 2003).

    Dr Spruston: Thank you for your kind words. A more substantive e-mail is on its way to you.


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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