Autophagy, or “self-eating”, is an internal process of cellular destruction that is, paradoxically, necessary for life. Now Yale researchers have discovered that brain cells use this pathway during the development of the brain architecture. “In cells, you have to destroy to build,” said cell biologist Daniel Colón-Ramos, senior author of the paper published online in the journal Developmental Cell. The Yale team shows that autophagy is locally regulated, much like a bulldozer would be in the middle of New York City, in the building of new connections between neurons, called synapses. Here synapses in green and yellow in a neuron (red).