Stunning Scientific “Art” Exhibit

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-01-2014

Skin cancer cells Markus Schober and Elaine Fuchs, The Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y.

Skin cancer cells
Markus Schober and Elaine Fuchs, The Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y.

Stunning scientific images of blood, brain, bacteria, viruses and more, enlarged by as much as 50,000 times, are on display in an exhibit called Life: Magnified, on view through November 2014 at Washington Dulles International Airport’s Gateway Gallery. The gallery, en route to Concourse C, is in a two-level walkway through which about 2.5 million passengers pass each year.

The display is cosponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s Arts Program. The program uses the arts to enhance travel experiences at Dulles International and Reagan National Airports.

“These images show science that shines like art. Many of these stunning pictures were created by researchers who work at or are funded by NIH, as part of their quest to better understand basic life processes and gain insights about health and disease,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

“We hope this exhibit helps inform the public about cutting-edge biomedical research and how visualizing biology, with all its complexity and beauty, can lead to important, medically relevant advances,” said NIGMS Director Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D.

“Many of the images come from organisms like mice, fruit flies and zebrafish. These organisms have much in common with us, including a large proportion of their genes, the way their tissues and organs develop, and how their bodies function. Studying them speeds scientific progress to learn more about our own biology,” Lorsch added.

The 46 colorful backlit enlargements in the exhibit were selected from more than 600 submitted by researchers. In addition to the variety of organisms, the collection features a wide range of cell types and imaging techniques.

“The Gateway Gallery has traditionally welcomed passengers to Dulles International through its unique and engaging art displays,” said Christopher U. Browne, Washington Dulles International Airport manager. “This exhibit will add to the enjoyment of the airport experience while offering travelers an intriguing, up-close view of life on a microscopic level.”

“This eye-popping show lets visitors take a dazzling trip through the cellular world, which is both foreign and as close as their own skin,” said ASCB Executive Director Stefano Bertuzzi.

Although only passengers who pass through airport security can see the exhibit itself, an online gallery is available at http://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/life-magnified/pages/default.aspx. This site includes high-resolution versions of all of the images in the collection, along with longer captions than in the airport exhibit. All of the images are freely downloadable for non-commercial purposes.

Cell Isolation – The Two Worlds of Cell Separation

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 06-30-2014

Get a Free Sample of TGX Stain-Free™ FastCast™ Acrylamide Solutions

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 06-26-2014

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Arthritis Drug Helps Bald Man Grow Hair

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 06-25-2014

A man with almost no hair on his body has grown a full head of it after a novel treatment by doctors at Yale University.

There is currently no cure or long-term treatment for alopecia universalis, the disease that left the 25-year-old patient bare of hair. This is the first reported case of a successful targeted treatment for the rare, highly visible disease.

The patient has also grown eyebrows and eyelashes, as well as facial, armpit, and other hair, which he lacked at the time he sought help.

“The results are exactly what we hoped for,” said Dr. Brett A. King, assistant professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine and senior author of a paper reporting the results online June 18 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. “This is a huge step forward in the treatment of patients with this condition. While it’s one case, we anticipated the successful treatment of this man based on our current understanding of the disease and the drug. We believe the same results will be duplicated in other patients, and we plan to try.”

Read more…

Is Working at the Bench Putting Your Health at Risk?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 06-23-2014

Let me start by saying that I don’t mean to be sensationalist. I really don’t. But current events really have my blood boiling. All of us, and I mean each and every one of us that works at the bench, have taken tons of courses in lab safety and are probably sick and tired of the annual boreathon that is called safety training day (or whatever it is called in your institution). No, I don’t wear open-toed sandals in the lab. I don’t pipette by mouth. I file each and every MSDS sheet in our safety binder when the materials arrive (OK…I don’t really do this one). So yeah, I think that I am a pretty safe guy. And so are most of the people that I work with. But WHAT THE HECK??? ANTHRAX???

If you haven’t heard the news, last Thursday, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a statement informing the public that as many as 75 scientists may have been exposed to live Anthrax while working in their Atlanta facility. 75 scientists! Anthrax! Just the sound of it makes my skin crawl. The lab can often be monotonous and boring, but surely this isn’t the way anyone wants to break up the monotony of bench work. Imagine the scenario. You wake up one morning, pack your lunch, kiss your wife and kids goodbye and head off to work. You figure that you’ve got a good 8 or 9 hours ahead of you in the lab and then its back home. Only nope. Someone has something else planned for you. You are about to be exposed to anthrax.

While the exposure was not intentional, (staff in a high-level biosecurity lab working with the live virus forgot to inactivate it before passing it on to colleagues who were untrained in handling of the bacteria), the carelessness and negligence exhibited by the scientific staff at the CDC is just as worrisome. However, do you think that these kind of mishaps can only occur at high-level biosecurity facilities? I think not.

Although the use of radioisotopes is not as common as it used to be, I remember how, as a graduate student, neighboring labs were shut down when they failed to pass the radioactivity officer inspection. Apparently, swipe tests showed that hot stuff was all over the place! Unsuspecting passersby were unintentionally exposed to huge levels of beta particle radiation.

And what about the widespread use of ethidium bromide for detecting DNA in gels? Sure, the person handling the stained gel was wearing gloves, but did he bother taking off the gloves when touching the door handle to the dark room or gel doc imager? Did he unintentionally contaminate the common computer keyboard? The list goes on and on.

So while I don’t want to be a sensationalist and blow things out of proportion, I do believe that the occupational hazards associated with lab work are probably higher than your average desk job worker. I would be interested in seeing a long-term, epidemiological study of morbidity and mortality rates among those who worked in a research lab for a significant period of time.

Any takers?