Video of Quail Embryo Wins First Place in Third Annual Nikon Small World in Motion Competition

Nikon Instruments Inc. is pleased to announce the winners of the third annual Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition. First place was awarded to Dr. Gabriel G. Martins of The Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, whose 3D reconstruction of a quail embryo – comprised of more than 1,000 separate images – shows in startling clarity and detail the anatomy of the specimen.

The winning video shows a sequence of “virtual” slices through the whole embryo with 10 days of (in egg) gestation. With this technique, studying the whole anatomy of large specimens like this is possible.

Michael Weber of The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Germany won second place with his video showing the beating heart of a two-day old zebrafish embryo. The heart – which is only 250 micrometers or just slightly larger than the diameter of a human hair – was reconstructed in 3D after being captured using light sheet fluorescence microscopy in the living zebrafish. In one of its more mesmerizing facets, viewers can watch the movement of blood cells through the heart and its adjacent vessels.

Dr. Lin Shao of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus earned third place honors with his video of a Live HeLa (cancer) cell, which shows for the very first time the inner details of the mitochondria in a living cell within a 3D image. Shao used structured illuminated microscopy applied to the wide field microscope, doubling the normal resolution of the conventional microscope. With this technique, Dr. Shao captured more than 50 time points which were then reconstructed in three dimensions. Shao hopes this video inspires other microscopists to apply this technique in their own laboratories.

“Once again, Nikon received an incredible number of entries for Small World in Motion, but this year’s crop of winners showcase truly incredible and ground-breaking techniques that push the boundaries of imaging,” said Eric Flem, Communications and CRM manager, for Nikon Instruments. “These videos embrace the very spirit of this competition, which aims to remind us all that cutting-edge science and imaging are not only happening every day, but can be artistically intriguing as well.”

Nikon Small World in Motion awarded three winners with a First, Second, and Third place prize, and will recognize an additional 10 entries with Honorable Mentions throughout 2014.

The judges were science educator and journalist Cara Santa Maria and Michael W. Davidson, Director of the Optical and Magneto-Optical Imaging Center at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University.

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