3,2,1 Photo!

It was long since I brought some really cool pictures to you, but no worries because the winners from the Olympus Bioscapes 2011 just came out and here I show you some of my favourites, even if I don’t totally concur with the opinion of the jury on the classification of the winners.

To me the very best is the video in the eight position, the one made by doctors Dr. James LaFountain and Dr. Rudolf Oldenbourg that shows one phase of cell division in a sperm cell of a fly. As the explanation in the video comments they took one image every 15 seconds over 35 minutes of cell division and then mounted the video. Cool, isn’t it?
Sorry I couldn’t just upload the video here but follow the link, it is really worth a while. Now, more pics, and I couldn’t start anywhere else but with BRAINS. Among the honorable mentions appear the image taken by Dr. Constantinescu, which even without all those thousand of colours we usually see in confoca fluorescence pictures it reflects all the beauty of the brain, or at least so I think.

What Dr. Richard Wingate captured was…can you guess?  Neuronal axons (projections). In this case chick axons from an adult chick transplanted into a young embryo, and that just like the roots of a plant extend in the soil so do the axons when trying to find their way to their predetermined partners. We can see the axons (and the cells to which they belong) because they were labelled with a green fluorescent protein, even if we see the image in b&w.

And now let’s move to Germany where  Dr. Sandra Dieni took a picture of the hippocampus (brain area related to learning and memory) where the cells appearing in yellow are astrocytes, a certain type of glial cells responsible of neuronal support (although very probably they do much more than that, participating too in transmission of information between neurons) and that’s why they are so abundant and elongated.

To finish, and so you cannot say that all I say is about brains the last picture, from Dr. Julia Dibner, depicts an ossifying bone from a bird. Since there are not so many details on the how it was made I can only tell it was zoomed 200 times and that she didn’t use fluorescence microscopy.

A last piece of advice is to go check the contest website to enjoy the other images. Plenty of good stuff to see there.