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Macrophages in a mouse liver
Found in practically all tissues, macrophages (in blue) are the hungry cells of the immune system. They gobble up dying cells and harmful pathogens like bacteria to ensure tissues are happy and healthy. When a tissue is damaged, young macrophages are recruited by the bucket-load to the site of injury where they mature to speed up wound repair and eat trespassing bacteria. Some bacteria, like the one responsible for tuberculosis, can survive even after being eaten, eventually killing the macrophage and accelerating its spread within the tissue.
Image by Hendrik Herrmann.

Macrophages in a mouse liver

Found in practically all tissues, macrophages (in blue) are the hungry cells of the immune system. They gobble up dying cells and harmful pathogens like bacteria to ensure tissues are happy and healthy. When a tissue is damaged, young macrophages are recruited by the bucket-load to the site of injury where they mature to speed up wound repair and eat trespassing bacteria. Some bacteria, like the one responsible for tuberculosis, can survive even after being eaten, eventually killing the macrophage and accelerating its spread within the tissue.

Image by Hendrik Herrmann.

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Spiryogyra
Spirogyra, a type of green algae, is common to freshwater areas and consists of over 400 currently described species. Spirogyra is so named because its light-absorbing chloroplasts are arranged in a prominent spiral shape running along the length of each cell. Commonly found in clean waters, this algae’s outer cell wall can dissolve in water, making it slimy to touch.
Image captured and submitted by Dennis Quertermous, University of Alabama.

Spiryogyra

Spirogyra, a type of green algae, is common to freshwater areas and consists of over 400 currently described species. Spirogyra is so named because its light-absorbing chloroplasts are arranged in a prominent spiral shape running along the length of each cell. Commonly found in clean waters, this algae’s outer cell wall can dissolve in water, making it slimy to touch.

Image captured and submitted by Dennis Quertermous, University of Alabama.

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Human cortical neural stem cells
Cortical neurons are located in the cerebral cortex of the brain, a region responsible for memory, thought, language, and consciousness. Neural stem cells are “immature” cells committed to become neurons and helper cells of the brain. Neurons are the liaison between our brain and the world. When we eat a lemon, neurons connected to our taste buds tell the brain that it’s sour. Messages from the brain can also be sent elsewhere, as when neurons command muscles to contract while lifting a heavy object.
Image by Kimmy Lorrain, BrainCells, Inc.

Human cortical neural stem cells

Cortical neurons are located in the cerebral cortex of the brain, a region responsible for memory, thought, language, and consciousness. Neural stem cells are “immature” cells committed to become neurons and helper cells of the brain. Neurons are the liaison between our brain and the world. When we eat a lemon, neurons connected to our taste buds tell the brain that it’s sour. Messages from the brain can also be sent elsewhere, as when neurons command muscles to contract while lifting a heavy object.

Image by Kimmy Lorrain, BrainCells, Inc.

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HeLa cells, an immortalized cell line
Frequently, scientists try to understand how the cells in our body behave by culturing them in a dish. But normal cells eventually stop dividing and die, so studying cells that can grow “forever” has become an invaluable tool in scientific research. These are HeLa cells, the first immortalized cell line ever established by scientists. HeLa cells are cervical cancer cells that were surgically removed in the 1940s from an African-American woman, Henrietta Lacks (whose story was recently documented by Rebecca Skloot in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). Since the establishment of HeLa, thousands of immortalized cell types have been developed, but HeLa cells remain the most commonly used one.
Image by Asae Igarashi, Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co. Ltd., Japan.

HeLa cells, an immortalized cell line

Frequently, scientists try to understand how the cells in our body behave by culturing them in a dish. But normal cells eventually stop dividing and die, so studying cells that can grow “forever” has become an invaluable tool in scientific research. These are HeLa cells, the first immortalized cell line ever established by scientists. HeLa cells are cervical cancer cells that were surgically removed in the 1940s from an African-American woman, Henrietta Lacks (whose story was recently documented by Rebecca Skloot in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). Since the establishment of HeLa, thousands of immortalized cell types have been developed, but HeLa cells remain the most commonly used one.

Image by Asae Igarashi, Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co. Ltd., Japan.

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Fruit fly larval brain
With over 100 billion neurons, humans are capable of impossibly intricate behaviors. Fruit flies, on the other hand, have 100,000 neurons—a mere 0.0001% of what we possess. Robot makers turn to fruit flies to understand how a system with “low computational power” can execute sophisticated “commands,” such as honing in on a food source in a chaotic environment. Using their antennae, fruit flies detect odors arising from food, but the odor plume is chaotically dispersed by wind. How do flies know precisely where to land? Researchers at the University of Washington demonstrated that after sensing an odor, fruit flies visually search for round, high-contrast objects as potential odor sources. If it’s inedible, flies move on to the next object. Understanding how fruit flies use these simple cues could aid in designing programs for controlling robots of the future.
Image by Christian Klämbt, University of Muenster, Germany.

Fruit fly larval brain

With over 100 billion neurons, humans are capable of impossibly intricate behaviors. Fruit flies, on the other hand, have 100,000 neurons—a mere 0.0001% of what we possess. Robot makers turn to fruit flies to understand how a system with “low computational power” can execute sophisticated “commands,” such as honing in on a food source in a chaotic environment. Using their antennae, fruit flies detect odors arising from food, but the odor plume is chaotically dispersed by wind. How do flies know precisely where to land? Researchers at the University of Washington demonstrated that after sensing an odor, fruit flies visually search for round, high-contrast objects as potential odor sources. If it’s inedible, flies move on to the next object. Understanding how fruit flies use these simple cues could aid in designing programs for controlling robots of the future.

Image by Christian Klämbt, University of Muenster, Germany.

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Trabecular meshwork of a pig’s eye
The trabecular meshwork of the eye acts as a filter located behind the cornea. Behind the cornea is fluid to protect the eye from dust, wind, and other disturbances. We need this fluid for proper eye function, and it needs to be properly drained to prevent unwanted build-up. The trabecular meshwork makes this possible. When it cannot function properly, a disease called glaucoma results. The vision loss associated with glaucoma occurs when the fluid pressure in the cornea causes damage to the optic nerve, the nerve responsible for sending “sight” messages to the brain.
Image by Carmen Laethem, Aerie Pharmaceuticals, USA.

Trabecular meshwork of a pig’s eye

The trabecular meshwork of the eye acts as a filter located behind the cornea. Behind the cornea is fluid to protect the eye from dust, wind, and other disturbances. We need this fluid for proper eye function, and it needs to be properly drained to prevent unwanted build-up. The trabecular meshwork makes this possible. When it cannot function properly, a disease called glaucoma results. The vision loss associated with glaucoma occurs when the fluid pressure in the cornea causes damage to the optic nerve, the nerve responsible for sending “sight” messages to the brain.

Image by Carmen Laethem, Aerie Pharmaceuticals, USA.

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