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Illuminating the Lilliputian: 10 Bioscapes Photo Contest Winners Revealed

A gallery of images captured by light microscopy reveals the high art of the natural world

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10. Mr. Gist Croft

Skin cells from a patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis were reprogrammed to become stem cells that then differentiated into motor neurons, the cells afflicted in the disease. Gist Croft of Columbia University and Mackenzie Weygandt of Project ALS used an inverted fluorescent microscope to take snapshots of the motor neurons’ 25-micron-wide nuclei (green) and their long, connecting fibers, or axons (red), to compare diseased cells with their healthy counterparts.....[ More ]

9. Ms. Haruka Fujimaki

Salmon embryos remained still long enough for a Mount Holyoke College undergraduate student to snap their picture. Haruka Fujimaki applied bright-field optics to capture an image of the larvae that she had raised as part of an Atlantic salmon stock-restoration project in western Massachusetts.....[ More ]

8. Dr. Heiti Paves

Flower of Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress).
Confocal, 20x objective lens.....[ More ]

7. Dr. Albert Pan

Sensory axons covering the tail of a three-day-old larval zebra fish. Axons are labeled with red, cyan and yellow fluorescent proteins.....[ More ]

6. Dr. Alvaro Migotto

Deadly tentacle of a Portuguese man-of-war stands out as a delicate pink ribbon containing toxin-filled beads (each about 300 microns in diameter) that can be released in the presence of prey or by inadvertent contact with an unwitting human victim.....[ More ]

5. Dr. David Domozych

The unicellular alga, Penium, treated with the microtubule poison, oryzalin, and labeled with the antibody JIM5.....[ More ]

4. Mr. Charles Krebs

Gem-quality algae, each a single cell about 40 microns in diameter, exhibit the red coloration of the carotenoid pigment astaxanthin in their interiors. Astaxanthin made by such algal cells is exploited to make salmon pinker.....[ More ]

3. Dr. Jeremy Pickett-Heaps

This classic microscopic subject is used in every textbook to illustrate sex in lower organisms, and it shows the power of sexual attraction even in simple algae. The "male" cell becomes quite amoeboid as it squeezes through the narrow fertilization tube that the partner cells ("gametes") have just built between them.....[ More ]

2. Dr. Rachel Wang

Core of corn emerges in this close-up of the nucleus of a plant cell undergoing meiosis, a form of cell division. Chung-Ju Rachel Wang of the University of California, Berkeley, deployed a technique called 3-D structured illumination microscopy to produce high-resolution images of parts of synaptonemal complexes: specifically, two protein strands aligned in parallel, no more than 200 nanometers apart, that provide structural support to chromosomes (not shown) during meiosis.....[ More ]

1. Dr. Jan Michels

Water flea ( Daphnia atkinsoni ) sports a comblike crown of thorns (green, spiny structure in head) to make itself unappetizing to predators. The crown, which measures about 200 microns across, emerges in offspring of parents that sense a chemical signal emitted by the tadpole shrimp ( Triops cancriformis ).....[ More ]

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