Building on landmark research by his colleagues at Santiago Ramón y Cajal School, Pio del Rio-Hortega successfully distinguishes microglia from neighboring cells using a silver carbonate labelling technique. His subsequent research defines the diversity and responsiveness of microglia and their distribution throughout the brain and microglial proliferation associated with disease.
Dr. Ben Barres revolutionizes the field by revealing the complex communication between microglia, astrocytes, and neurons, demonstrating their essential involvement in synapse formation, plasticity, and pruning, and highlighting their importance in maintaining brain health and their connection to neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.
Finally in 2005, Axel Nimmerjahn and team use two-photon in vivo imaging to visualize the neuroimmune system, documenting the resting state of microglia and their protective reactions to injury in the brain.
A research team led by Dr. Thorlakur Jonsson links genetic mutation in neuroimmune cells to brain inflammation and dementia, sparking interest in investigating neuroimmune biomarkers for neurodegenerative disease.
The Human Cell Atlas project demonstrates the possibility of mapping the functions and relationships of individual cells using emergent single cell, spatial genomics, and cutting-edge computational techniques.