Fire in Her Eyes

Rebecca Bernardos, Graduate Student,
Neuroscience Program, University of Michigan

Degeneration of cells in the retina is the most common cause of irreversible
blindness in the Western world. When the cells that detect light (photoreceptors)
die in the human retina, they are never replaced. Some fish, on the other hand,
have the remarkable ability to produce new photoreceptors after injury. The goal
of our research is to understand how these cells regenerate in the fish retina with
the hope that this will suggest ways to reverse the effects of retinal degeneration
in humans. This photomicrograph features a section of a zebrafish retina. The
red feather-like cells are photoreceptors and each blue spot is a cell nucleus.

Judy Busby

This quilt is a rendition of Rebecca Bernados’s photograph of a
section of a zebrafish retina. The blue spots are created with
sequins covered with fabric and sewn by hand. The varying
levels of circles are individually hand sewn, giving depth to the
band of nuclei. The red photoreceptors include red fabrics
and handmade paper. The middle, red portion is depicted
using shades of red glass beads. As Rebecca Bernados and
her fellow researchers pass by this quilt, I hope they will feel
the respect and thankfulness I feel for their dedication and

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