Eureka!: Small Wonders

Growing Serotonin

Photo: Jian Feng

By Charlotte Hsu


A microscope image shows a colorful universe of neurons in a petri dish. Cells with different properties have been tagged with labels of varying hues. The green ones are neurons that produce serotonin, a chemical in the brain involved in regulating mood and mental states. UB physiology and biophysics professor Jian Feng led a study to generate these serotonin neurons in the lab—an advance that could lead to new methods of researching and treating mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.