Credit: Ning Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
As tumor cells divide and grow, they push, pull, and squeeze one another. While scientists have suspected those mechanical stresses may play important roles in cancer, it’s been tough to figure out how. That’s in large part because there hadn’t been a good way to measure those forces within a tissue. Now, there is.
As described in Nature Communications, an NIH-funded research team has developed a technique for measuring those subtle mechanical forces in cancer and also during development . Their ingenious approach is called the elastic round microgel (ERMG) method. It relies on round elastic microspheres—similar to miniature basketballs, only filled with fluorescent nanoparticles in place of air. In the time-lapse video above, you see growing and dividing melanoma cancer cells as they squeeze and spin one of those cell-sized “balls” over the course of 24 hours.
Posted In: Cool Videos
Tags: 3D imaging, biomechanical force, biomechanics, biophysics, cancer, cell biology, compression, development, developmental biology, elastic microspheres, elastic round microgel method, ERMG method, fluorescent light microscopy, imaging, melanoma, nanoparticles, video, zebrafish
Credit: Tessa Montague, Harvard University, and Zuzka Vavrušová, University of California, San Francisco
Each summer for the last 125 years, students from around the country have traveled to the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole, MA, for an intensive course in embryology. While visiting this peaceful and scenic village on Cape Cod, they’re exposed to a dizzying array of organisms and state-of-the-art techniques to study their development.
Posted In: Cool Videos
Tags: black widow spider, C. elegans, Caenorhabditis elegans, cephalopod, comb jelly, cuttlefish, Danio rerio, development, developmental biology, embryology, FASEB Bioart 2017, Marine Biological Laboratory, MBL Embryology Course, parchment tube worm, roundworm, sea squirt, sea urchin, slipper nail, tardigrade, video, zebrafish
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve lost two legendary scientists who made major contributions to our world: Sir John Sulston and Stephen Hawking. Although they worked in very different areas of science—biology and physics—both have left us with an enduring legacy through their brilliant work that unlocked fundamental mysteries of life and the universe.
I had the privilege of working closely with John as part of the international Human Genome Project (HGP), a historic endeavor that successfully produced the first reference sequence of the human genetic blueprint nearly 15 years ago, in April 2003. As founding director of the Sanger Centre (now the Sanger Institute) in Cambridge, England, John oversaw the British contributions to this publicly funded effort. Throughout our many planning meetings and sometimes stormy weekly conference calls about progress of this intense and all-consuming enterprise, John stood out for his keen intellect and high ethical standards. (more…)
Tags: ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, C. elegans, cosmology, developmental biology, human genome, Human Genome Project, John Sulston, Nobel Prize, physics, quantum mechanics, Sanger Institute, Stephen Hawking, universe
If you’ve ever tried to take photos of wiggly kids, you know that it usually takes several attempts before you get the perfect shot. It’s often the same for biomedical researchers when taking images with microscopes because there are so many variables—from sample preparation to instrument calibration—to take into account. Still, there are always exceptions where everything comes together just right, and you are looking at one of them! On her first try at using a confocal microscope to image this cross-section of a mouse embryo’s torso, postdoc Shachi Bhatt captured a gem of an image that sheds new light on mammalian development.
Bhatt, who works in the NIH-supported lab of Paul Trainor at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO, produced this micrograph as part of a quest to understand the striking parallels seen between the development of the nervous system and the vascular system in mammals. Fluorescent markers were used to label proteins uniquely expressed in each type of tissue: reddish-orange delineates developing nerve cells; gray highlights developing blood vessels; and yellow shows where the nerve cells and blood vessels overlap.
Tags: birth defects, blood vessels, cleft lip, cleft lip and palate, cleft palate, confocal microscope, craniofacial biology, craniofacial development, developmental biology, FASEB Bioart 2015, mammalian development, Med23, microscopy, mouse, nervous system, vasculature