Photo Story: Backyard Brains

By James Coller, Staff Photographer
Published April 13, 2014

In a small basement workshop in downtown Ann Arbor, two workers mold and assemble devices to allow anyone to explore the brain. From elementary school children to fascinated adults, the team at Backyard Brains is working to innovate the neuroscience education world.

Started by two University graduate students while working in their neuroscience lab, Greg Gage and Tim Marzullo co-founded Backyard Brains in 2009. Today, they have a team that performs research and development, production, sales and educational demonstrations located in Ann Arbor.

The team of scientists perform experiments on cockroaches to demonstrate the inner-workings of nerves and the brain. During their demonstrations, they are able to make a cockroach’s severed leg dance to the beat of “Gangnam Style,” use electrodes to stimulate nerves controlling muscles, and show how nerves respond to stimulus.