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The 2012 Bio-Art Winners

Frank Moutos and Farshid Guilak*

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

Due to a lack of blood vessels and other characteristics, cartilage heals very slowly. One way to accelerate natural cartilage repair and growth is to use tissue engineering, or the artificially-stimulated production of functional replacement tissue. The image shows a three-dimensionally woven biomaterial scaffold. The scaffold consists of multiple layers of resorbable fiber bundles that have been woven into a porous structure. The scaffold is then seeded with cells that grow to become new tissue as the fibers are resorbed. The fibers provide stiffness and strength in a manner that mimics native collagenous tissues such as cartilage. This work to use tissue engineering to generate replacement cartilage is supported by NIH funding from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

*Biomedical Engineering Society

 
Douglas B. Cowan†*

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

This micrograph shows cells called myoblasts attached to spherical microcarriers, which allow the growth of adult stem cells that have been isolated from skeletal muscle. The stem cells are shown in green. By combining these cells in a bioreactor, the muscle stem cells can be greatly increased in number and then separated from the myoblast “feeder” cells. The image was produced in the course of studies aimed at creating artificial “stem cell factories” and was supported by NIH funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

American Physiological Society
*Biomedical Engineering Society

 
Matthew E. Arnegard1, Derrick J. Zwickl2, Ying Lu3, and Harold H. Zakon3

1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
2University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
3University of Texas, Austin, TX

Closely related electric fish species from the Okano River of Gabon, collected in the vicinity of the abandoned Fang village, “Na.” Each species is shown along with a recording of its electric organ discharge, which these fish use to communicate with one another and electro-locate prey, much like bats use echolocation. Electric fish recognize other members of their own species using the species-specific waveforms of these heartbeat-like discharges. NIH funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences allows Arnegard and colleagues to investigate how this electrical variability is caused by some of the same genetic mutations that, in humans, lead to congenital heart defects and childhood epilepsy.

 
Ivica Grgic1,2, Craig R. Brooks1, Andreas F. Hofmeister1,2, Vanesa Bijol1, Joseph V. Bonventre1,3,4†‡, and Benjamin D. Humphreys1,4

1Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
2Philipps-University, Marburg, Germany
3Harvard University-Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
4Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Visualizing the smallest biological structures has traditionally required the use of highly specialized electron microscopy equipment. Using a combination of genetic-based labeling and a variety of fluorescent proteins, researchers have developed a way to push the limits of the light microscope to view the smallest of biological structures. The image shows foot processes of genetically labeled cells (red) covering walls of capillaries (green) in a kidney of a mouse. This work is supported by the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

American Physiological Society
American Society for Clinical Investigation

 

Submission by The American Association of Immunologists on behalf of Mohammed Khan1, Theodore S. Steiner2, Ho Pan Sham1, Kirk S. Bergstrom1, Jingtian T. Huang1, Kiran Assi2, Bill Salh2, Isabella T. Tai2, Xiaoxia Li3**, and Bruce A. Vallance1††

1British Columbia Children's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada
2University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
3Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH

The control of inflammatory responses in the intestinal lining is critical to the prevention of unwanted immune reactions to the “good bacteria” in the gut. Expressed on the surface of the cells of the intestine, the single IgG IL-1-related receptor (Sigirr) is a key regulator of this process. Tissue from a colon biopsy stained for Sigirr and other cellular components is shown. Therapeutic targeting of Sigirr could be useful in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease or other inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

American Physiological Society
**American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
††The American Association of Immunologists

 
Alejandra Bosco and Monica L. Vetter§

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

The image features nerve fibers (blue) and their attendant microglia (green), the cells responsible for immune defense in the central nervous system, as the fibers converge to form the optic nerve in a mouse retina. In glaucoma, the retina and optic nerve experience neurodegeneration that causes blindness. Researchers have discovered that mouse retinal microglia undergo changes preceding irreversible neuronal decline and death. Similar changes may take place in humans. By detecting and tracking the activity of microglia, researchers aim to identify and target early pathways underlying the onset of glaucoma. This research to further the development of more effective treatments to diagnose and slow glaucoma is supported by NIH funding from the National Eye Institute.  Other funding included the Glaucoma Research Foundation and the Melza and Frank Theodore Barr Foundation.

§Society for Developmental Biology

 
A. Kelsey Lewis1, Yong Wan1, Mary Colasanto1, Mark van Langeveld1, Ronen Schweitzer2§, Charles D. Hansen1, and Gabrielle Kardon1§

1University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
2Shriners Hospital, Portland, OR

Upper panel:

This is a limb from a transgenic, embryonic mouse, showing well established musculoskeletal and nervous systems. The limb is stained with a variety of techniques to differentiate muscle, tendon, bone, and nerve, and rendered into a three-dimensional image using FluoRender, a publicly available rendering program developed at the University of Utah.

Lower panel:

This is a model, derived from the upper panel image, showing muscles, tendons, bones, and nerves. This model is part of a collaborative effort between geneticists and computer scientists to develop a 3-dimensional interactive atlas of limb development. NIH funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development supports this effort.

§Society for Developmental Biology

 
Li-Hsien Lin

University of Iowa

Both glutamate and nitric oxide play an important role in transmitting cardiovascular and respiratory signals between the brain, heart, and lung. This butterfly shaped figure is an image of a rat spinal cord showing the distribution of three types of glutamate and nitric oxide synthesizing enzymes. Understanding the action and interaction of glutamate and nitric oxide in the nervous system could lead to better treatments for cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and heart failure. This work is supported by NIH funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

American Physiological Society

 
Grigori Enikolopov and Ann-Shyn Chiang

1Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY
2National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

New neurons are produced from neural stem cells in several areas of the adult brain. One such area is in the hippocampus, a brain structure crucial for cognitive function. The number of neural stem cells in the hippocampus decreases over time, possibly contributing to the cognitive impairment associated with aging. When activated by extrinsic stimuli, stem cells divide and generate progenitor cells, which eventually mature into neurons and migrate into the layers above, whereas stem cells themselves undergo additional rounds of rapid divisions and convert into astrocytes, thus leaving the stem cell pool. The image depicts stem cells (green) and neuronal nuclei (red). This research to understand how the brain produces new neurons is supported by NIH through the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Aging.

 
Rakesh Karmacharya1, Stuart L. Schreiber2**, and Stephen J. Haggarty1

1Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
2Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

The study of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell-derived neurons is a promising new approach to understanding the molecular and cellular underpinnings of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychiatric diseases. Researchers are investigating the disease biology of psychiatric disorders by reprogramming patient skin cells to iPS cells and then generating live neuronal cells with the patients' genetic makeup. This image shows a culture of differentiated neuronal cells (green) and neural progenitor cells (red), with the nuclei of the cells in blue. This research is supported by NIH through the National Institute of Mental Health.

**American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 

 

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