Rewriting Life

Cellular Wonders

The winners of the American Society for Cell Biology’s annual image contest reveal the beauty within cells.

Dec 14, 2009
The aptly named Celldance competition, an annual imaging competition sponsored by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), recognizes still images and videos that are both scientifically important and visually engaging. “Most cell biologists are in large part motivated by the beauty they see in cells every day of their professional life,” Rex Chisolm, who chairs ASCB’s public information committee, said in a statement. “In one sense, working with cells is like working in an art gallery where the art changes every day.” The winning images, featured in this gallery, were announced last week at the society’s 49th annual meeting. The image above, entitled “Save the Last Dance for Me” took first place. This scanning electron image reveals the delicate hairs of the single cell organism Tetrahymena thermophila.
Second place. “Sea Creature Radiance.” A multicolored micrograph of the diatom Arachnoidiscus. The diatom’s silicified cell wall forms a pillbox-like shell called a frustule, composed of overlapping halves that contain intricate and delicate markings.
Third place. “Protein Gymnasts.” This is the first image to reveal how the folding pathway of a protein is altered by a chaperone molecule.
Honorable Mention. “Cryptic Colonic Mountainscape.” Using a riot of colors, this micrograph reveals colonic “crypts,” the intestinal stem cell niches that constantly replenish the epithelial cell population, in an adult mouse.