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A Virtual Glimpse Into Microscopic Life

February 17, 2021

Restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop Wistar from keeping up with a long-standing tradition that, for the past 18 years until this year, has brought hundreds of people to the Institute to marvel at the beauty of the microscopic world. Though this time it happened virtually.

We couldn’t open the Institute’s doors to host the Nikon Small World photomicrography competition and welcome visitors at the opening reception. Yet by the virtue of technology, we hosted a virtual conversation featuring the authors of three winning images from the 2020 competition and moderated by managing director of Wistar’s Imaging Facility James Hayden, a multiple-time Nikon Small World winner himself.

Daniel Castranova, a research specialist from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Jason Kirk, director of the Optical Imaging & Vital Microscopy core facility at Baylor College of Medicine, and Nadia Efimova, senior scientist at a Philadelphia-based pharmaceutical company, shared their passion for imaging, microscopy and photography and showed stunning images from their work. Wistar’s own postdoctoral researcher Irene Bertolini from the Altieri lab also presented her microscopy work that allows her to study the contribution of mitochondria in cancer.

Eric Flem, Nikon Instruments Inc. communications manager and curator of the competition, thanked Wistar for its partnership in showcasing the world’s largest photomicrography competition that includes a collection with thousands of entries from all over the globe each year.

Admiring remarkable details of zebrafish vasculature, intricate woven filaments within cells, and other intriguing features captured through the lens of a microscope and rendered as captivating works of art, the audience had a glimpse of the invisibly small world whose fascinating beauty is typically only revealed to scientists and microscopy pros.

Here’s to hoping that next year Wistar will welcome everyone back in person.

If you missed the event, please view the video below.