Education Outreach

From Single Cells to Whole Brains

From Single Cells to Whole Brains: Gene Expression, Cell Types, and the Brain

About this activity

This short activity introduces students to the concept of cell types in neuroscience, why cell types are important, and how they are defined. Students then explore data from two methods used to capture gene expression: single-cell RNA sequencing and in situ hybridization (ISH). Students are prompted to interpret the data they explore and consider the strengths, limitations, and applications of the methods.

The activity takes approximately one hour and is recommended for students at the end of the curriculum for introductory high school biology, or any time in AP/IB/honors biology or electives like anatomy and physiology.

This activity consists of a video lecture meant to be played in class for students presented by Kaitlyn Casimo, Ph.D., and an accompanying worksheet for students guiding students through the activity.

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Meet the author:

Kaitlyn Casimo, PhD

This activity was originally developed for the 2021 International Brain Bee Global Championships and revised with the input of IBB staff and competitors. We thank the IBB for their participation in the development of this activity. Learn more about the International Brain Bee at