Waltz of the filaments
Honorable Mention This image shows a single cell called a fibroblast. This type of cell is involved in wound healing. Fibroblasts contain flexible filaments made of vimentin, a protein which helps cells change shape and move. Researchers study these filaments and their movement to understand how they work in our cells. The microscopic filaments inside the cell are revealed by staining them with fluorescent dye. This dye glows when exposed to laser light. Then a picture is taken with a special microscope. In this image, thick bundles of filaments appear in bright yellow, while individual filaments at the edge of the cell appear in violet.
This image originally appeared as part of Northwestern's Scientific Images Contest. The contest and subsequent exhibitions are organized by Science in Society, the university's research center for science education and public engagement. Further information and opportunities to participate are available on their website. Prints and canvas editions of these Northwestern research images can also be purchased online (with the small net profit going to science education and outreach programming in the Chicago area).