These stunning images look like something out of an art exhibition. As a matter of fact, they are on exhibit and for sale, but they are actually scientific images of tissues and cells captured using microscopes.
The images are part of a project called Bio-Artography founded by the University of Michigan’s Center for Organogenesis. In this research group, scientists study organ formation, function, and disease in hope of finding cure for organ diseases and developing better treatment for organ damages.
Bio-Artography is “…a fascinating combination of art and science,” which was initiated as a fund-raiser for providing students with travel grants to attend scientific meetings. It also serves a dual purpose as a perfect tool for public outreach to tell (or show) the public what the scientists are studying, how, and why.
One of my favorite images is Belly Bubbles by Li-Jyun Syu, a research laboratory specialist from the Department of Dermatology. This is an image of mouse stomach viewed under a microscope, with fluorescent stains identifying different cells and structures. DNA is colored blue, acid-producing cells in green, and rapidly dividing cells in red. When Li-Jyun Syu manipulates the mouse stomach to produce more molecules involved in stomach inflammation (called interferon gamma), the number of dividing cells, or red “bubbles,” increases.
The images can be purchased from Bio-Artography website, starting at $25.
- Incredible Technology: How to Explore the Microscopic World (livescience.com)