Nikon: Small world, stunning science


Rebecca Pool

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 11:30
A stereomicroscopic image of Senecio vulgaris seed head took second place in this year's Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. [Dr Havi Sarfaty]
Confocal microscopy of immortalized human skin cells (HaCaT keratinocytes) expressing fluorescently tagged keratin, 40x. [Dr Bram van den Broek, Andriy Volkov, Dr Kees Jalink, Dr Reinhard Windoffer & Dr Nicole Schwarz]
Van den Broek came across this peculiar but beautiful skin cell while researching the dynamics of keratin filaments with Andriy Volkov, a student in the Cell Biophysics group led by Professor Kees Jalink.
“There are more than 50 different keratin proteins known in humans. The expression patterns of keratin are often abnormal in skin tumor cells, and it is thus widely used as tumor marker in cancer diagnostics,” says van den Broek.
“By studying the ways different proteins like keratin dynamically change within a cell, we can better understand the progression of cancers and other diseases,” he adds.
This year’s second place photo captures a subject we see every day from a microscopic perspective; the flowering head of a plant (Senecio vulgaris).
Stereomicroscopic image of Senecio vulgaris (a flowering plant) seed head, 2x [Dr Havi Sarfaty].
Dr Havi Sarfaty of Yahud-Monoson, Israel, submitted this photo because of how it represents the unseen complexity of a supposedly simple garden flower.
And while this year’s third place photo by Mr Jean-Marc Bablian of Nantes, France, may look like it came from a beloved vintage video game, it is actually a living volvox algae releasing its daughter colonies. 
Differential Interference Contrast image of living Volvox algae releasing its daughter colonies, 100x. [Jean-Marc Babalian]
In addition to first, second and third prize winners, Nikon Small World recognized an additional 85 photos from more than 2,000 entries from 88 countries around the globe.
15th place: 3rd trimester fetus of Megachiroptera (fruit bat) , 18x, Darkfield, Stereomicroscopy [Dr Rick Adams]
Dr. Regis Grailhe, Nasia Antoniou & Dr. Rebecca Matsas from the Institut Pasteur Korea, Department of Screening Sciences & Novel Assay Technology, South Korea, revealed a stunning confocal microscopy image of neurons derived from a Parkinson patient.
Honorable mention: Confocal microscopy of neurons derived from a Parkinson patient, 20x. [Dr Regis Grailhe, Nasia Antoniou & Dr Rebecca Matsas]
And Charles J Kazilek from Arizona State University, US, presented a striking confocal microscopy image of paper fibres. 
Confocal microscopy of paper fibres (mulberry), 100x, [Charles J. Kazilek]
“What I most enjoy about this competition is that a larger audience can appreciate the beautiful complexity and diversity of the world unseen by the naked eye,” says van den Broek.
“This year’s winners not only reflect remarkable research and trends in science, but they also allow the public to get a glimpse of a hidden world,” comments Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments, “This year’s winning photo is an example of important work being done in the world of science, and that work can be shared thanks to rapidly advancing imaging technology.”
Learn more here.
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