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Take the Kids: Do our insides really look like that? Art museum exhibit showcases breathtaking lab images

Posted December 27, 2018 9:04 p.m. EST

Courtesy: NC Museum of Art

We've all read the stories about the latest medical study or revelation that moves forward our understanding of how our bodies work. But buried deep in those academic reports is something truly wonderful (other than, you know, the discoveries researchers make so we can live longer and healthier): laboratory images.

And, through Jan. 14, the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh has some on view through the Art of Science and Innovation, a small, free exhibit with the UNC School of Medicine. The exhibit is really just a wall of images, but for kids and adults, those pictures provide a fascinating window into what's happening inside our bodies.

"When we see these pictures, it's about the excitement," said Li Qian, whose microscope image of a failing heart that has improved based on therapies she has uncovered. "The excitement comes from the results of those experiments, but also appreciating the beauty of those pictures as well."

Take a look at Qian's work ...

Reporgrammed heart muscle, Li Qian

And here's an Andy Warhol-like picture of a drain in the heart from research by Kathleen Caron, whose work is paving the way towards developing specific therapies to enhance the function of lymphatic vessels in the heart and throughout the body.

A drain in the heart by Kathleen Caron

Jack Griffith captured this image of a gently disrupted bacterial cell in his work to better understand the origins and developments that lead to cancer and infectious disease.

Gently disrupted bacterial cell by Jack Griffith

This picture, which kind of looks like a waterfall to me, is actually a lung surface protected by a mucus blanket - captured by Mehmet Kesimer.

Lung surface, protected by mucus blanket, by Mehmet Kesimer

And here's a colorful look at neurons (those green and magenta things) that are located in a brain region that plays a key role in learning and memory. Mark Zylka is behind this image.

A Mindful Inhibition by Mark Zylka

The exhibit, of course, isn't going to be riveting for a two-year-old, but for older kids, especially those interested in science, biology, health care careers - or just great pictures - it's definitely worth walking through during a trip to the museum.

Go Ask Mom’s Take the Kids series is your No. 1 resource for weekly ideas about kid-focused places to take your family in the Triangle and beyond. New articles are published every Friday.