I spent my postdoc years in a bio-imaging lab, and each month we’d have a competition to see who could come up with the most gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing piece of imaging data. That was fifteen years ago, a time when the two-photon microscope was just starting to see widespread use and was beginning to revolutionize cell and developmental biology. A recent lab reunion was a joy, particularly getting to see how far the technologies had come in the short time since I left the bench.

Imaging has become a staple of so many approaches to biology, and every year, microscope companies run their own contests, casting a wide net to find the most compelling images worldwide. This year’s Nikon Small World competition found some fascinating winners.

First prize went to Wim van Egmond’s video of a ciliate predator devouring its prey:

Second prize was an astonishing look at what goes on in the guts of a termite, as symbiotic organisms help break down wood:

And third prize seems to be a remake of the movie Alien, as a parasitoid wasp breaks out of its host:

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


1 Thought on "Under the Microscope"

Thank you for sharing this, a true treat for the senses and a reinforcement of the power of different ways of knowing. It reminds me of some early ‘dumb luck’ in my career, being assigned as editor for the final two editions of Bloom & Fawcett’s Histology, with all that amazing electron microscopy. Amidst al our publishing its nice to be reminded of how delightful it can be.

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