Video Cover Featured in The Journal of Neuroscience
Nearly every week, The Journal of Neuroscience cover is a fascinating and beautiful scientific image that provides context for a study published inside. The August 7 issue will, for the first time, carry an image taken from an animated video created by a team of researchers from West Virginia University, and set to an original score by musician Bill Mallers. Click on the image at right to view the full video.
The August 7 edition of The Journal is the first of three that will feature videos illustrating different aspects from the study “Synaptic Inputs Compete During Rapid Formation of the Calyx of Held: a New Model System for Neural Development.” Check the August 14 and August 21 editions to see the second and third video in the series. The study was undertaken by a team from West Virginia University and the University of California, San Diego: Paul S. Holcomb, Brian K. Hoffpauir, Mitchell C. Hoyson, Dakota R. Jackson, Thomas J. Deerinck, Glen S. Marrs, Marlin Dehoff, Jonathan Wu, Mark H. Ellisman, and George A. Spirou.
The video uses nanoscale resolution images from serial block-face scanning electron microscopy (SBEM) of the developing mouse auditory brainstem during the first few days of its development. It depicts research that focuses on brainstem circuits that perform the initial calculation of source location based on delays in arrival of a sound at the two ears.
“SBEM is one of a new set of technologies that are realizing the capability to investigate brain circuitry across increasingly large dimensions at high resolution,” said George A. Spirou, Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Professor of Otolaryngology, Physiology and Pharmacology at West Virginia University School of Medicine. “We are looking at what may be the largest nerve terminal in the brain, part of the auditory circuitry where sound information is converging from the two ears; … It is part of the brain that develops very rapidly and matures into what we call a 1:1 connection, because each terminal contacts only one cell in the cell group. Initially, multiple connections form and most are pruned away within only 2-4 days in the mouse. We’ve established a wonderful model to study neural circuit development because of the rapid time frame and nice 1:1 read-out.”
The image on the cover of the August 7 edition of The Journal depicts the calyx of Held partially extracted from the image volume.
Spirou said the accompanying score came about when he shared the video his team created with his friend, musician Bill Mallers.
“He’s a talented musician with a broad range of interests, so I thought this would capture his attention,” Spirou said. “He saw the video and was really impressed by the visuals. He has written scores for other non-science videos and asked if he could compose some music. Each score has a very different sound, kind of perpendicular to each other, that reflects his interpretation of each video. As Bill explains, the purpose of the music is to draw the viewer through the visual scenes.”
John Maunsell, editor in chief of The Journal, introduced the video in the first page of this week’s issue. “As we continue to move forward in the age of electronic publication, there is no longer reason to restrict ourselves to highlighting still images,” he writes. “For several years we have allowed authors to embed essential videos and 3D models in the online and PDF versions of their articles, and many authors have used this option to great effect. I am pleased to announce that in addition to cover images we can now accept cover videos.”
The videos will be available on SfN.org and by using your smartphone to scan the QR code printed next to the study in The Journal.