A new sculpture in UAB’s Civitan International Research Center translates the central nervous system into a work of art.
Using the CNS as a starting point, the sculpture develops into its own matrix of interrelated parts, and its moving lights suggest the linear rhythms of nerve impulses; the light also stops to illustrate the damage to myelin and nerves in multiple sclerosis. See how it works in this video.
Created by NY artist Sara Garden Armstrong, the Sentient Matrix was commissioned by the Alabama-Mississippi Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to honor the legacy of leadership of Birmingham businessman M. Miller Gorrie. In developing the project, Armstrong consulted extensively with Assistant Professor Tara M.DeSilva, Ph.D., in UAB’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Functional Neuro-Recovery Program.
In her UAB lab, DeSilva, a neurobiologist, researches the effect of glutamatergic signaling between axons and oligodendrocytes on myelination. Understanding the cell biology of glutamate — the major neurotransmitter in the brain — and its role in myelination is important to developing remyelination as a therapy for cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury.
Learn more about UAB’s research and patient care to improve life for people with physical impairments or disabilities online.