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The Brainscapes 2024 winners were announced at the Oxford Neuroscience Symposium on the 20th March 2024.

First Prize

The Rainbow Brain

Greg Daubney, Department of Experimental Psychology




Polarised light imaging (PLI) utilises the birefringence of myelin to estimate the primary fibre orientation per microscopy pixel (4μm/pixel). The orientations are colour-coded in HSV (hue-saturation-value) space, where the hue is dependent on the fibre orientation and the value is related to the tissue birefringence.

PLI can be used to track complex patterns of fibre organisation across the brain. For example, here we can observe the organisation of the cerebellar nuclei, different PLI signals in molecular/granular layers of the cerebellar cortex, as well as the delineation of the optic radiation within the cerebral white matter, which differs in the orientation and density of myelinated axons compared to surrounding tissue. PLI can be acquired from unstained tissue sections of various species, where here in Oxford we have so far imaged human, monkey, ferret, bird and mouse brain tissue.

Image created by Greg Daubney, Adele Smart and Amy Howard

From the paper;

Howard, A.F.D., Huszar, I.N., Smart, A. et al. An open resource combining multi-contrast MRI and microscopy in the macaque brain. Nat Commun 14, 4320 (2023).

Lay description

50µm Coronal NHP section, photographed under Polarised Light. This allows for the visualisation of the orientation of myelin fibres in the brain. 

2nd Prize

In the Symphony of Life Neuronal Rhythms Resonate Memories

Demi Brizee, MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit, NDCN




Neuronal projections form the hippocampal CA1’s major input regions (CA3 in magenta and Entorhinal Cortex cyan) are highly segregated and have been suggested to carry distinct information (1). Furthermore, at a functional level these inputs are associated with distinct local field potential (LFP) profiles as a function of depth across the radial axis (2). Here, we show a fusion of fluorescently labelled projection in the hippocampus and its corresponding electrophysiological signature as a function of depth in sleep (left) and awake exploration (right).

This fusion of two (previously) distinct field (anatomy and physiology) reflects the modern neuroscience community in its attempt to solve the complexities of the brain by interdisciplinary collaborations from geneticist, through biology and engineering, all the way to theoretical work. Oxford Neuroscience, for example, has successfully taken on the challenge to unite all neuroscientist scattered across the University of Oxford


  1. Hasselmo ME, Bodelón C, Wyble BP (2002) A Proposed Function for Hippocampal Theta Rhythm: Separate Phases of Encoding and Retrieval Enhance Reversal of Prior Learning. Neural Computation 14:793–817.
  2. Lopes-dos-Santos V, Brizee D, Dupret D (2023) Spatio-temporal organization of network activity patterns in the hippocampus. bioRxiv 2023.10.17.562689; doi:


Imaging, electrophysiological recordings, and editing by D. Brizee, in the Dupret Laboratory at MRC BNDU, NDCN

Lay Description

Neuronal projections to the hippocampus carry information essential to form and retrieve memories. This information is communicated through precise, rhythmic messages, which can be recorded as electric signals (EEG signals). Inputs originating from different sources are segregated, hence the layered appearance, and have distinct electrical signatures reflected by the lines. 

Joint 3rd Prize

More Than Meets The Eye

Cristina Martinez-Fernandez de la Camara, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences



The image shows a macaque eye dissected. The cornea, iris and lens have been removed, and four cuts were made to keep the eyecup opened. The sclera, the white part of the eye, covers the surface of the eyeball. The choroid, beneath the sclera and filled with blood vessels, nourishes the retina and absorbs excess of light. The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) forms a barrier between the choroid and the retina. It can be seen in the picture as a black layer due to its high content in melanin, a dark pigment that absorbs any stray light. The RPE acts as a recycling station ensuring that debris from the phototransduction process does not build up underneath the retina. And lining the interior of the eye, we can see the retina as a translucent layer. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue of the eye, composed of different cell types with specialised roles. Light passes through all the retinal cell layers until it reaches the photoreceptors, rods and cones. Rods are responsible for vision in dim light conditions, whereas cones are activated by bright lighting and are responsible for vision in colour. Cones are highly concentrated in the fovea — a small pit in the centre of the retina that provides the sharpest visual acuity (can be seen in the picture as a small black spot in the centre). Photoreceptors capture energy from photons and generate a neural response in a process known as phototransduction. This converted message leaves the eye at the optic disc (bright spot on the left of the image) via nerve fibres to the optic centre of the brain.

Lay Description

The eye is our window to the world. Like a camera, the eye captures light signals, regulates its intensity, focuses it, and converts it into electrical signals that will form an image in the brain. Understanding the mechanism of vision is critical to find treatments for blindness.


Tremella Mesenterica

Mats van Es, Department of Psychiatry




I saw this jelly-like fungus regularly on walks in the woods and then read in the newspaper that it’s a parasitic fungus is called Tremella Mesenterica. This picture is an ode to its English name: Yellow Brain

Other entries

EV Kaleidoscope: Unveiling Colourful Secrets

Suman Dutta, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences




Marissa Mueller, Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics



Neuronal Constellation

Féodora Bertherat, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics



Neuronal Networking

Nick Gatford, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences



Seeing Human Neurons Sparking In A Dish!

Pao-Sheng Chang, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences




David Grainger, Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics



TDP-43 Fibrils: Unraveling Neuriodegenerative Mysteries

Ganesh Mohite, Nuffield Department of clinical Neurosciences



The Eye Of The Storm

Blake Russell, Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics



The Molecular Landscape of Our Brain Cells

Jasmine Reese, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences



When Neurons Go Cold

Cher Zhou, Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics



Who Says That Science And Art Can't Go Hand In Hand?

Florina Szabó, Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics