Stem cells

Photo: Bio-Art via LiveScience

Stem cell factories
This micrograph, which won a spot in the top 10 of the first annual Bio-Art scientific image competition, shows the bubbly green orbs of a bustling stem cell factory. Embryonic muscle cells called myoblasts are attached to spherical microcarriers, which allow the growth of adult stem cells that have been isolated from skeletal muscle. By combining these cells in a bioreactor, the muscle stem cells (in green) can be greatly increased in number and then separated from the myoblast “feeder” cells.

Organized by the Federation for American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the competition judges selected 10 images out of about 100 entries that were created by scientists as a byproduct of biomedical research.

This image of stem cell factories, submitted by Dr. Douglas B. Cowan of the Children's Hospital of Boston, was generated through studies aimed at creating artificial "stem cell factories," with funding support provided by the National Institute of Health and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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Brain stem cells

Photo: Bio-Art via LiveScience

The recipe for new neurons

In this striking image, new neurons are generated from neural stem cells (green) inside the neuronal nuclei (red) of the hippocampus, an area of the brain where neural stem cells decrease over time — possibly contributing to the cognitive impairment associated with aging.

The image, created by Grigori Enikolopov and Ann-Shyn Chiang of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, is the result of research focusing on how the brain produces new neurons.

Click here for more winning entries of artistic portrayals of biomedical research. (Background information courtesy of LiveScience.)

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

Photos: Bio-Art contest unveils stunning microscopic world
Take a look at a couple of images that won a top spot in the first annual FASEB Bio-Art Competition.