Yesterday, Nikon Instruments announced the winners of its inaugural Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition. From a selection of more than 200 submissions, judges deemed 13 stunning videos to be the most visually outstanding as well as high-caliber depictions of the intersection of science and art.
This time-lapse movie showing the movement of mitochondria in sensory neurons in the tail of a zebra fish larva took second place. MSNBC reports:
Mitochondria are the energy-producing powerhouses of the cell, and play a vital role in sparking neural activity. This movie was created in the course of [postdoctoral fellow Dominik Paquet's] research into the molecular and cellular pathologies associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Paquet and his team at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease in Munich were studying how problems with the transport of cellular components can affect nerve cells. Paquet says this video may represent the first-ever example of live imaging of mitochondrial transport in the nerve cells of an intact, unmodified vertebrate.