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Published 2015 | Version v2.0.0
Pictorial Work Open

Supporting Potential Life


2015 First Place Collaboration is often the key to scientific innovation. Here, a reproductive biologist and a materials scientist and engineer teamed up to help cancer survivors who struggle to conceive children.The image centers on a mouse ovarian follicle (in purple). An ovarian follicle is made up of a developing egg and its surrounding support cells. Normally follicles develop within healthy ovaries, but they can be damaged by harsh cancer therapies. Healthy follicles can be removed before patients undergo treatment, but afterward these saved follicles often struggle to grow into healthy eggs. Laronda and Jakus have created a new paper-like biomaterial made of ovarian proteins (in green). It is designed to support removed follicles as they develop into mature eggs. This image shows a healthy follicle flourishing in the new environment. Someday supportive biomaterials like these could help cancer survivors grow families of their own.Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology + Department of Materials Science & Engineering Tools & Techniques: Scanning Electron Microscope + colored in Photoshop


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).


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1st Monica Laronda & Adam Jakus 2015.jpg
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March 31, 2023
March 31, 2023