Friday, 20 December 2013 09:13

The “Cellular Oscars,” Celldance 2013 Video Awards Roll Out a Tiny Red Carpet

Written by  Cathy Yarbrough
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Time-lapse movies of a cellular "heaven and hell," a dividing crane fly sperm cell undergoing, and the early development of muscle cells were recognized with the top three awards in the American Society for Cell Biology's Celldance "Really Useful" Cell Biology Video Contest for 2013. The special Public Outreach Award went to a group of cell biologists at the Dartmouth College, Geisel School of Medicine who danced their favorite cellular processes as The Cell Dance.

The Celldance awards were announced Tuesday at the ASCB Annual Meeting in New Orleans and a winners' reel posted is posted on the left. Simon Atkinson, chair of the ASCB Public Information Committee, which organizes Celldance, describes the awards as the "cellular Oscars." Says Atkinson, "Cell biology is the most visual of all the life sciences and, through Celldance, PIC is trying to encourage ASCB members to use microscopy videos as an outreach tool in education and on the Web."

The first-place Really Useful video award, which includes a cash prize of $500, was presented to Bruno Cadot of the Myology Institute in Paris, France, for a video showing differentiation and nuclear movement of mouse muscle cells over a three-day period at 20 minutes per frame. The nucleus of each cell is stained with green florescent protein (GFP). As a result, the movement of the nuclei of the developing cells is clearly shown.

Second place was a tie, and the Celldance judges combined and then divided the prizes from second and third place to award two second-place Really Useful cash prizes of $250.

For his second-place submission, Rakesh Suman, University of York in UK, created Cellular Heaven and Hell, a time-lapse video obtained with the Phase Focus Virtual Lens 20 microscope, which uses ptychography to produce label-free, high-contrast, quantitative phase images. The healthy human gut epithelial cells in "heaven" were imaged under normal physiological conditions every 10 minutes and are played back at seven frames per second. The human gut epithelial cells in "hell" were treated with staurosporine to induce cell death, or apoptosis.

The other second place award went to Michael Shribak, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. His time-lapse video shows the metaphase stage of meiosis in a crane fly (Nephrotoma suturalis) spermatocyte. Metaphase was captured by using a newly developed orientation-independent differential interference contrast technique. Shribak conducted the experiment with James LaFountain, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY. The phase image was computed by David Biggs, KB Imaging Solution LLC, Loomis, CA.

In "The Cell Dance," the winning entry in the Public Outreach category, Dartmouth researchers danced their favorite cellular processes. Pinar Gurel received the award and a cash prize of $250 on behalf of the cast of dancing biologists from the labs of Henry Higgs, Amy Gladfelter, and Duane Compton. Graduate students Jeanine Amacher, Edwin Felix, and Arko Dasgupta were key organizers.

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