Tag Archives: cnc

A higher level

After building and loading our brain, we decided to place it at a higher level, just above our heads.

And there it rests now, fully fed, waiting for the moment we’ll turn it on.


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We Were Here!

Almost saying goodbye.

Our artistic residency at CNC will end this month and we’re already missing the neighbourhood. Such a great time we had accompanying the daily routine of this research institute. We’ve met interesting people, interesting work and points of view, different perspectives about life. We even felt being part of the routine and that was pretty cool, we felt at home.

MARIONET will be 10 years old next October and never had a physical home to this day. CNC was our home for the past 7 months and really felt like that. It was the right environment for the type of work we’ve been developing this last years, with a very close connection to science. This made us think (well, in fact we’ve thought this before) that it would really be fruitful for us to have our company’s premises in a research institute. And, of course, the institute would also collect its fruits. Well, who knows what the future will tell.

For the time being we leave here this map of where we’ve lived for the past few months – right there, between the yellow and the green, we’ve created a yellow cell. An artistic one.

This is what we could see from our window:

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AVC [additional video capturing]

Following our brief but intense brainstorming period, we decided we needed some extra video recordings from daily lab routines to prepare what we intended to do next.

So we started a new series of visits to some experiments going on in the various labs of CNC, and Rodrigo gave us two hands and two eyes with his video camera, his experience and his sensibility concerning video capturing and editing.

Like cells in a petri dish kept at a convenient temperature, the materials we gather from this residency are proliferating at a good rate. Let’s see how we’ll use the superspheres they’re forming.

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Considering we are building a brain, why not add some storm to it? Just like Dr. Frankenstein did when he captured the energy of a lightning bolt during a storm to give life to his creature.

In a month and a half we’ll be leaving this premises and we would like to leave them in style. For the past few days we’ve been reflecting an discussing our stay here and all of the information and experience we gathered, and we started to make plans for the future.

Firstly, for the near future, we started thinking about a performance we’ll create to signal our departure and the end of this residency. Next, for the long-term future and considering the knowledge about life in the lab we now have, we started thinking about the materials we would still like to collect to help us create future works on this particular subject.
And in this brainstorming process we ended up discovering some unsuspected links between the different stuff things are made of.

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We’re growing a brain – part I

For about a month now, we’ve been reusing the rumpled yellow papers that were left from The Review Game. We thought: here we have a bunch of papers with scientific information about neuroscience which have a history; they’ve been read, rumpled, cited, paddled over a table by researchers, they were fun to use and interesting to comment on. We felt they had the potential to build something. And so we started to build a brain out of them.

We began to bind one paper to the other and the other and the other, and the different parts of a human brain started to grow. We used some models to get the hang of it.

Then, we bound the different brain parts to form the whole brain. This is, off course, a special brain – it’s a brain built on scientific papers from CNC research groups, who spend their days trying to understand how the human brain works. In a way, they are trying to build the human brain through the knowledge they get from very specific experiments. Just like we did. This brain captures a part of our experience and experiments here at CNC, it’s built with it.

One interesting thing we decided to do was give this brain the same weight of a real human brain (in average, of course). Our brain weights approx. 1.4Kg.

Note – this brain is made up of the following scientific articles:
– Agasse F, Bernardino L, Kristiansen H, Christiansen SH, Ferreira R, Silva B, Grade S, Woldbye DPD, Malva JO (2008). Neuropeptide Y Promotes Neurogenesis in Murine Subventricular Zone. Stem Cells 26:1636-1645.
– Álvaro AR, Martins J, Costa AC, Fernandes E, Carvalho F, Ambrósio AF and Cavadas C. Neuropeptide Y Protects Retinal Neural Cells Against Cell Death Induced by Ecstasy (2008). Neuroscience 152:97-105.
– Álvaro AR, Rosmaninho-Salgado J, Ambrósio AF, Cavadas C (2009). Neuropeptide Y Inhibits [Ca2+]i Changes in Rat Retinal Neurons through NPY Y1, Y4 and Y5 Receptors. J Neurochemistry 109:1508-1515.
– Arduíno DM, Esteves AR, Oliveira CR, Cardoso SM (2010). Mitochondrial Metabolism Modulation: A New Therapeutic Approach for Parkinson’s Disease. CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets 9(1):1-15.
– Bernardino L, Agasse F, Silva B, Ferreira R, Grade S, Malva JO (2008).Tumor Necrosis Factor-a Modulates Survival, Proliferation, and Neuronal Differentiation in Neonatal Subventricular Zone Cell Cultures. Stem Cells 26:2361-2371.
– Bernardino L, Xapelli S, Silva AP, Jakobsen B, Poulsen FR, Oliveira CR, Vezzani A, Malva JO, Zimmer J (2005). Modulator Effects of Interleukin-1b and Tumor Necrosis Factor-a on AMPA-Induced Excitotoxicity in Mouse Organotypic Hippocampal Slice Cultures. J Neuroscience 25(29):6734-6744.
– Cavadas C, Céfai D, Rosmaninho-Salgado J, Vieira-Coelho MA, Moura E, Busso N, Pedrazzini T, Grand D, Rotman S, Waeber B, Aubert J-F, Grouzmann E (2006). Deletion of the Neuropeptide Y (NPY) Y1 Receptor Gene Reveals a Regulatory Role of NPY on Catecholamine Synthesis and Secretion. PNAS 27:10497-10502.
– Esteves AR, Arduíno DM, Swerdlow RH, Oliveira CR, Cardoso SM (2009). Antioxidants & Redox Signaling 11(3):1-10.
– Esteves AR, Arduíno DM, Swerdlow RH, Oliveira CR, Cardoso SM (2010). Microtubule Depolymerization Potentiates Alpha-synuclein Oligomerization. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 1(5):1-6.
– Pinheiro PS, Perrais D, Coussen F, Barhanin J, Bettler B, Mann JR, Malva JO, Heinemann SF, Mulle C (2007). GluR7 is an Essential Subunit of Presynaptic Kainate Autoreceptors at Hippocampal Mossy Fiber Synapses. PNAS 29:12181-12186.
– Silva AP, Cavadas C, Grouzmann E (2002). Neuropeptide Y and its Receptors as Potential Therapeutic Drug Targets. Clin Ch Acta 326:3-25.
– Silva AP, Lourenço J, Xapelli S, Ferreira R, Kristiansen H, Woldbye DPD, Oliveira CR, Malva JO (2007). Protein Kinase C Activity Blocks Neuropeptide Y-mediated Inhibition of Glutamate Release and Contributes to Excitability of the Hippocampus in Status Epilepticus. FASEB J 21:671-681.


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Today I walked my way for CNC in vain. The Centre was closed, in fact the entire building was. Only a few researchers seem to be there but with the doors closed.
Why? Cause today is one of the days of Pope visit to Portugal and also the ephemeris for of a supposed appearance of the Virgin Mary to three kids during the 910’s.

I suppose there’s no use for a discussion on the subject but I can’t say I feel fine with this. After all CNC and the University of Coimbra are institutions whose faith should be on modern science and humanity future. It’s strange to see those two, so important, actors of our society, kneel down to the holy pope.

Pedro Medeiros

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That girl standing at the door

I got to CNC today thinking about writing a post about yesterday’s Other Data Club. But things often aren’t what we thought they would be. And today, routine killed my plans.

[Routine? Which routine?] Well… everyday when I get to CNC I stop by the coffee machine right at the entrance, insert 35 cents, press ‘long coffee’, and wait for the daily surprise. The truth is it’s getting harder and harder for that machine to surprise me. She (it’s a she) always delivers less than I expect. The surprise only happens when I get everything I supposedly 35cented for. Let me list some of the verified anomalities so far:

– no spoon

– drop sugar before cup

– no cup

Odds are that one of those 3 always occur. Let me analyse those ocurrences – no spoon is like no sugar, if I can’t stir the sugar laying at the base of the cup it’s just like if it wasn’t there; drop sugar before cup means I get a small white pile under the cup being filled which, appart from being visually appealing, means no sugar IN the coffee, and then the spoon falling in the cup feels like an ironic statement; no cup gives you an image like if the machine is peeing over a small white pile of sugar – sometimes I get the urge to put my hand under the pee to prevent that waste of caffeine (but never did it, so far).

Today I got no spoon. And I really need the coffee. I grin when I drink coffee without spoon. She makes me grin, that girl standing at the door.

Coincidences are fun. Sometimes they are mind-openers, in science as in life. While I was grinning my coffee up and reading the daily local news I stumbled upon the following article about today being the International Coffee Day and, moreover, about the edition by a research group from CNC of a special number of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease about the benefits of the consumption of caffeine (and coffee) in cases of Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases and depression.

Here’s the article (in Portuguese). And here’s the link for the referred publication (in English).

Well, reading the newspaper article and some of the abstracts of that special issue on caffeine made me imagine that that girl standing at the door is involuntarily preventing those diseases to install in my brain. It felt warm and with sugar. It’s good to know there’s someone working to know us better and, possibly, extent our path here where we’re standing.

But then again, one other thought formed in my mind – not even in the Internati0nal Coffee Day I got the complete 35cent deal, caffeine, cup, spoon, sugar and all!

I think I’m beginning to hate her, that girl standing at the door.


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