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Retina Image Takes First Prize in NIH’s Beauty of Science Competition

Photonics.com
Oct 2016
BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 20, 2016 — A confocal microscope image of a mouse retina shining with fluorescent molecules has been awarded first prize in the National Institutes of Health's 2016 Combined Federal Campaign "Beauty of Science," an arts competition to inspire awareness and support of federal scientific efforts. The evocative image was featured in a study published last year by UC San Diego School of Medicine and Shiley Eye Institute researchers, investigating potential restorative therapies for glaucoma.

Winner of Beauty in Science NIH Award
Confocal microscope image of mouse retina sparkling with fluorescent molecules. Courtesy of Keunyoung Kim, Wonkyu Ju and Mark Ellisman, all of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at UC San Diego.

In the award-winning image, created by Wonkyu Ju, Keunyoung Kim and Mark Ellisman, a virus carrying a gene tagged with green fluorescent protein (GFP) was introduced into the eyes of seven-month-old mice. Two months later, the retinas were examined using large-scale mosaic confocal microscopy.

In the image, GFP expression (yellow) is observed to be broadly distributed in all parts of retinal ganglion cells, suggesting the viral delivery system could deliver therapeutic genes. The blue dots indicate Brn3a-positive retinal ganglion cells. Brn3a is a marker for retinal ganglion cells. This was stained for examining transduction efficiency of AAV2-GFP in retinal ganglion cells.

The research was published in Cell Death and Disease (doi: 10.1038/cddis.2015.180).


GLOSSARY
fluorescence
The emission of light or other electromagnetic radiation of longer wavelengths by a substance as a result of the absorption of some other radiation of shorter wavelengths, provided the emission continues only as long as the stimulus producing it is maintained. In other words, fluorescence is the luminescence that persists for less than about 10-8 s after excitation.
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