Jan. 15 - A time-lapse movie showing the immune response in the lymph nodes of a mouse edged out a fruit fly sperm fight for top honors at this year's Nikon ''Small World in Motion Photomicrography'' competition. Now in it's second year, the competition showcases 2012's best time-lapse imagery as seen through through a microscope. Ben Gruber reports.
It looks more like art than science... and according to the judging panel of the Nikon "Small World in Photomicrography Competition" it's actually both. The time-lapse movie shot by NIH scientist Olena Kamenyeva of the immune response in lymph nodes of a mouse took top prize. The Nikon International Small World Competition began in 1975 to recognize the efforts of those involved with photography as seen through a microscope and in 2011, following a trend in time-lapse imagery and video, the competition began accepting movies. Second place honours went to Dr. Stefan Lüpold with a movie showing sperm from two different males competing within the female reproductive tract of the fruit fly. The development of genetically-modified fruit flies that produce sperm with either green- or red-fluorescent heads, as seen in the movie, is now allowing scientists to study the process. Dr. Nils Lindstrom earned third place honours with his video showing a kidney cultured in vitro and imaged over four days. Dr. Lindstrom says the time-lapse video represents a striking example of how a kidney starts from a simple structure and gradually becomes a highly complex duct system in just a matter of days. Entries in the competition are judged on the basis of originality, informational content, technical proficiency and most importantly - visual impact. Nikon says microscopic imaging technology improves every year and with those improvements scientists will be able to show that art and science have a lot more in common than anyone expected.