Ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek first popularized the microscope, the world of the very small has inspired scientist and layman alike.  Over the last three centuries, microscopy has made quantum leaps in its ability to perceive distances that could be covered in, well, a quantum leap. In an effort to engage young people in microbiology, Nikon’s Small World competition has called on professional and amateur microbiologists to submit the most stunning images they’ve managed to capture under their lenses. For your viewing pleasure, here are 2012’s winners:

First Place - Dr. Olena Kamenyeva

Technique: 2-Photon Microscopy

Subject Matter: Recruitment of neutrophils to the site of laser damage in mouse inguinal lymph node

Description: This video shows the immune response in the lymph node of a mouse, when activated by a laser. Specifically, it shows an efficient innate immune reaction in the lymph node, which typically has been studied for the development of adaptive immune response.

Second Place - Dr. Stefan Lüpold

Technique: Fluorescence Microscopy

Subject Matter: Sperm from two males competing within reproductive tract of a female fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) (400x)

Description: Sperm of two different males (green and red) competing within the female reproductive tract of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Competition between sperm is a widespread phenomenon throughout the animal kingdom and a powerful evolutionary force driving species diversity. However, it has been nearly impossible to study the fundamental biological processes associated with sperm from different males competing inside of females. The very recent development of genetically modified fruit flies that produce sperm with either green- or red-fluorescent heads (as seen in the movie) is now allowing us to answer important biological questions.

Third Place - Dr. Nils Lindström

Technique: Time-lapse, Inverted Fluorescent Microscope,

Subject Matter: Complexity of ureteric bud branching and nephron formation

Illustrating the development of live kidney cells, specifically a metanephric kidney that has been cultured in vitro and imaged over 4 days. The fluorescence originates from a conditional YFP reporter, which is only activated in cells expressing Pax8. The fluorescent cells belong to the ureteric bud (the tree), the induced nephron progenitors cell (cells around the tree tips) and nephrons that are forming (the shapes forming within the tree). The YFP signal is viewed using a heat-map that has been overlaid onto the bright-field channel.

To view more Honorable Mention Videos, visit NikonSmallWorld

Video & Description Text Courtesy of Nikon

 

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