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Fluorescent Hand of a Madagascar Giant Day Gecko Wins 48th Annual Nikon Small World Photo Microscopy Competition
The winners of the 48th annual competition showcase a spectacular blend of science and artistry under the microscope
Nikon Instruments Inc. has unveiled the winners of the 48th annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. This year’s first place prize was awarded to Grigorii Timin, supervised by Dr. Michel Milinkovitch at the University of Geneva, for his remarkable image of an embryonic hand of a Madagascar giant day gecko. Masterfully blending imaging technology and artistic creativity, Timin utilized high-resolution microscopy and image-stitching to capture this species of Phelsuma grandis day gecko.
A visually stunning and painstaking technique, Timin used image-stitching to merge hundreds of images together to create the final image of his gecko. Preparing the sample was an added challenge. Timin performed whole-mount fluorescent staining and tissue clearing to capture the entire embryonic hand with a confocal microscope.
“This embryonic hand is about 3 mm (0.12 in) in length, which is a huge sample for high-resolution microscopy,” said Timin. “The scan consists of 300 tiles, each containing about 250 optical sections, resulting in more than two days of acquisition and approximately 200 GB of data.”
The final result gives a glimpse into the hidden beauty and complexity of the gecko, highlighting the nerves in a cyan color and the bones, tendons, ligaments, skin and blood cells in a range of warmer colors. “This particular image is beautiful and informative, as an overview and also when you magnify it in a certain region, shedding light on how the structures are organized on a cellular level,” said Timin.
He went on to say, “The Nikon Small World Competition is a great opportunity to share how impressive nature is on a microscopic level, not only within a scientific community but also with the general public.”
“Each year, Nikon Small World receives an array of microscopic images that exhibit exemplary scientific technique and artistry. This year was no exception,” said Eric Flem, Communications and CRM Manager, Nikon Instruments. “At the intersection of art and science, this year’s competition highlights stunning imagery from scientists, artists, and photomicrographers of all experience levels and backgrounds from across the globe.”
Second place was awarded to Dr. Caleb Dawson for his image of breast tissue showing contractile myoepithelial cells wrapped around milk-producing alveoli. Taking a week to process, the myoepithelial cells were stained with multiple rounds of fluorescent dyes and captured with a confocal microscope.
Third place was captured by Satu Paavonsalo and Dr. Sinem Karaman for their image of blood vessel networks in the intestine of an adult mouse.
In addition to the top three winners, Nikon Small World recognized 89 photos out of thousands of entries from scientists and artists across the globe.
The 2022 judging panel included:
- Dr. Gustavo Menezes, Associate Professor and Head of the Center for Gastrointestinal Biology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais
- Dr. Nikolay Nikolov, Senior Video Journalist at The New York Times
- Annaliese Nurnberg, Photo Editor at The Washington Post
- Dr. Clare Waterman, Cell Biologist and Member of the National Academy of Sciences
The Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography or video. Participants may upload digital images and videos directly at www.nikonsmallworld.com. For additional information, contact Nikon Small World, Nikon Instruments Inc., 1300 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, NY 11747, USA, or phone (631) 547-8569. Entry forms for Nikon’s 2023 Small World and Small World in Motion Competitions are available.
Nikon Instruments Inc. is the US microscopy arm of Nikon Healthcare, a world leader in the development and manufacture of optical and digital imaging technology for biomedical applications.