New Celldance Videos Take a Journey of Discovery inside Living Cells

Riding a wave of powerful new imaging technologies, three ASCB member labs take viewers along on a journey of scientific discovery inside living cells with the release of three new videos from Celldance Studios, a.k.a. ASCB’s Public Information Committee (PIC). Scientists, students, and the public can follow a dendritic immune cell as it races to heal a wound, get up close as cells divide, or explore the native environment of cells churning out vital enzymes.

In 2016, Celldance Studios selected an international mix of ASCB member labs to produce the newest installments in its “Tell Your Own Cell Story” video series. All three Celldance 2016 videos are now available at for free downloading for nonprofit and educational purposes.

An immune cell moves inside a blood vessel in the film Discovery Inside Living Cells in Multicellular Organisms.

Cell Division: Live & Up Close from Daniela Cimini’s group at Virginia Tech’s Biocomplexity Institute in Blacksburg, VA, challenges viewers to “Close your eyes and try to picture yourself dividing.” The film shreds old high school textbook diagrams of cell division and replaces them with a pulsing, action-packed mystery story with “high stakes” health impacts.

The Big Squeeze: What Dendritic Cells Do to Fight Infection is from the lab team of Matthieu Piel at the Institut Curie and the Institut Pierre-Gilles des Gennes in Paris, France. It follows dendritic cells as they squeeze their way through the tangled extracellular matrix to alert the body’s immune system to an open wound.

Discovery Inside Living Cells in Multicellular Organisms is from the National Institutes of Health lab of Roberto Weigert in the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, and at the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research. This video is the fulfillment, says Weigert, of every cell biologist’s dream—to watch living cells at work inside living tissue as they go about the business of keeping us alive.

Jagesh Shah of Harvard Medical School, who serves as PIC’s executive producer for Celldance Studios, hailed this year’s videos. “Our storytellers and their producers have put together a magnificent set of ‘cell stories’ told in spoken word, animation, and, of course, live microscopy,” says Shah. “Live cell microscopy can evoke the wonder and awe of complex molecular processes as it reveals the beautiful cellular dance of life. This year, all three contributions deepen that wonder and awe.”

Each year Celldance Studios solicits proposals from ASCB member labs for short videos that tell the story behind their research. ASCB awards each of the three selected labs a $1,000 unrestricted grant to partially cover production costs. ASCB provides post-production services including final editing, title and credits, legal music if needed, and promotion.

Thanks to PLOS (Public Library of Science) for helping to support Celldance 2016.

Want to be a Part of Celldance 2017?
The search for proposals from ASCB member labs to make Celldance 2017 videos is on!
Find out more at or email with questions or to submit a proposal.

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