Science Beyond Boundaries: Exploring Neuroscience with Young Minds

Biswayini and Borkho who are 9th standard students from CUBE Sapekhati, Assam were trying to explain how they managed to trap fruitflies and further how did they culture. I learned to culture fruit flies in the first year of my bachelor’s degree, just like Rahul did. An experiment I thought was quite advanced for an undergraduate. Surprisingly, both Biswayini and Borkho have been conducting these experiments for a few weeks. This example perfectly illustrates how science education is evolving, enabling younger students to engage with simple scientific practices much earlier than before.
Biswayini kept a bottle with some tomato slices in the bottle to trap fruitflies and later she introduced how she transfered the larvae using a paint brush. Biswayini mentioned about the Suji Tomato Halwa a culture medium for fruitflies.
Later, to transfer fruitflies, we flip the bottle, which is a traditional method of transfering fruitflies. Fruitflies show this innate behaviour of moving upwards or away from earth which is known as negative geotaxis.

Positive geotactic behaviors induced by geomagnetic field in Drosophila | Molecular Brain | Full Text

“Geotaxis is a typical innate behavioral response of all living organisms characterized by locomotive activities toward or away from Earth. Particularly, negative geotaxis against Earth’s gravity is prominent in flying animals [1–3]. Remarkable advances have been made in identifying the genes and organs governing the geotactic behaviors using various model organisms, such as the fruit fly, rat, and mouse"

Biswayini mentioned that fruit flies died due to the presence of water droplets, which they might stick to and die.

Rahul who is doing his PhD in neuroscience from Ashoka university, is in Virginia, US at Janelia labs for imaging facility for his project work. Rahul mentioned about the Two photon microscope which is a powerful tool used in biological imaging to visualize deep structures within living tissues with high resolution. Unlike traditional microscopes that use one-photon excitation, two-photon microscopy employs two-photon excitation to achieve imaging at greater depths. The neuron of the fruitfly can be easily observed through this microscope.

Further Rahul adds that Janelia is renowned for its development of advanced imaging technologies that enable high-resolution imaging of biological specimens. These include two-photon microscopy, light-sheet microscopy, electron microscopy, and genetically encoded sensors for imaging neuronal activity. These imaging tools allow researchers to visualize and analyze biological structures and processes with unprecedented clarity and precision. The name “Janelia” originates from a combination of “Jane” and “Cornelia.” It’s a tribute to Jane Garcia and Cornelia Bargmann, two pioneering women in the field of neuroscience who have made significant contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Interaction with a 7-year-old Cubist

Hanvita a 2nd standard Cubist from Bangalore asks “Which neuron is present in human brain?” Rahul explains about neurons and Purkinje cells which are a type of neuron found in the cerebellar cortex of the brain. These cells are crucial for motor control and coordination.

And The EB “ellipsoid body” is a crucial structure found in the brain of insects, particularly in species like fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). It is a part of the central complex, a highly conserved neural circuit involved in various behavioral functions, including spatial orientation, navigation, and motor control. The EB is characterized by its ellipsoidal or spindle-shaped appearance and consists of densely packed neurons arranged in distinct layers. It forms intricate neural circuits that receive sensory inputs from different modalities, such as vision and olfaction, and integrate this information to coordinate motor responses involved in spatial behaviors.

Is it possible to manipulate neuronal activity within the ellipsoid body? Will there be change in behaviour? What do you think? @Arunan @Theertha @Enas and Rahul

Leaving this platform open for further discussion on this question for us all.

Further update from @Rahul in Context2Curriculum WhatsApp Group

This is a dissected Central Nervous system of a fruit fly by me in the lab. @Himanshu CUBE please show this to our youngest CUBist. Ask her if she can try and figure out which is the brain proper and that the extended tie-like structure?
What do others think? @Arunan MC @Theertha CUBE @Abhijeet

Hint: compare it to a Human CNS! You’ll find similarities.

1 Like