Saturday, October 14, 2017

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see"

As you would have probable guessed by now, this blog is a great fan of science-related art projects. So, this post is dedicated to the Nikon Small World Competition. The winners of the 2017 competition have been announced and since then I spend at least one hour every day just looking at these amazing pictures. I mean, they are just mind-blowing!!!

I am posting some of my favorites below but I strongly suggest that you visit their site and maybe spend the rest of your life just admiring the miracle of life (and light microscopy).

This came 7th but is the winner in my heart. Dr Ryo Egawa's individually labeled axons in an embryonic chick ciliary ganglion.

This picture was taken at the Institute for Life Sciences in Southampton by Catarina Moura, Dr. Sumeet Mahajan, Dr. Richard Oreffo & Dr. Rahul Tare and it depicts growing cartilage-like tissue in the lab using bone stem cells (collagen fibers in green and fat deposits in red). I think you all agree with me that it looks like an abstract Christmas tree (only 72 days left guys, hang in there!).

The tree of light or Ganglion cells expressing fluorescent proteins in a mouse retina by Dr. Keunyoung Kim.
Dr. Kif Liakath-Ali's: Nerves (in green) under the skin of a mouse (hair follicles are shown in red and blue). Clearly inspired by Van Gogh.

And some information about the constest: The Nikon International Small World Competition first began in 1974 as a means to recognize and applaud the efforts of those involved with photography through the light microscope. Since then, Small World has become a leading showcase for photomicrographers from the widest array of scientific disciplines.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Keep calm and pass the exam

It's exams period almost everywhere, a very intense period for all the parties involved.

Trying to help, the British Physiological Society has created an animation entitled "Conquering exam stress: lessons from our bodies". It attempts to explain how stress works in the body and gives a few tips for how to take control and make stress work for us. Isn't this what we all want after all?!

So keep calm, exercise, socialize and pass the exam :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

And the award goes to...

As a scientist, you are expected, to work long hours, in a quite uninspiring environment, usually on your own and with not much interaction with your colleagues or the outside world. Usually, very few people understand what are you doing and your family and friends remain pretty uninterested in your work struggles. So, receiving a lucrative prize from Benedict's Cumberbatch hands can only be a part of your daydreaming between lengthy experiments..or maybe not?

The Breakthrough Prizes is a relatively new constitution, with only two years of life, that have as a goal to celebrate scientific achievements and create excitement about science, focusing on the fields of life sciences, physics and mathematics. Founded by technology and Internet entrepreneurs Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, the prizes are funded by grants from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation; Mark Zuckerberg's fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; the Jack Ma Foundation; and the Milner Foundation. What I think is really interesting is that the committee that selects the winners is comprised by prior recipients of the prizes.

The 2nd Awards ceremony was equivalent of the Oscars (almost); produced and directed by Emmy Award-winning Don Mischer with several first-class actors presenting the awards and Christina Aguilera performing  "Beautiful"(!) .

This whole endeavour contradicts, of course, the away-of-the-spotlight attitude that the majority of the scientists traditionally have but I think any attempt to make the public aware of important scientific accomplishments should be mentioned in this blog.

Alim Louis Benabid, Joseph Fourier University, for the discovery and pioneering work on the development of high-frequency deep brain stimulation (DBS), which has revolutionized the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
C David Allis, The Rockefeller University, for the discovery of covalent modifications of histone proteins and their critical roles in the regulation of gene expression and chromatin organization, advancing the understanding of diseases ranging from birth defects to cancer.
Victor Ambros, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Gary Ruvkun, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, for the discovery of a new world of genetic regulation by microRNAs, a class of tiny RNA molecules that inhibit translation or destabilize complementary mRNA targets.
Jennifer Doudna, University of California, Berkeley, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research and Umeå University, for harnessing an ancient mechanism of bacterial immunity into a powerful and general technology for editing genomes, with wide-ranging implications across biology and medicine.
Simon Donaldson, Stony Brook University and Imperial College London, for the new revolutionary invariants of 4-dimensional manifolds.
Maxim Kontsevich, Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, for work making a deep impact in a vast variety of mathematical disciplines, including algebraic geometry, deformat.
Jacob Lurie, Harvard University, for his work on the foundations of higher category theory and derived algebraic geometry; for the classification of fully extended topological quantum field theories; and for providing a moduli-theoretic interpretation of elliptic cohomology.
Terence Tao, University of California, Los Angeles, for numerous breakthrough contributions to harmonic analysis, combinatorics, partial differential equations and analytic number theory.
Richard Taylor, Institute for Advanced Study, for numerous breakthrough results in the theory of automorphic forms, including the Taniyama-Weil conjecture, the local Langlands conjecture for general linear groups, and the Sato-Tate conjecture.