Small things seldom get big press, but once a year the microscopic world takes front and center stage at Nikon's annual Small World Photomicrography Competition. This year, a Stanford Medicine team took second place in the competition, edging out more than 2,000 entries from 83 countries around the world.
Their award-winning photo is a cacophony of color that uses immunofluorescence to illuminate a mouse colon colonized with human microbiota.
Four Stanford researchers were responsible for this mosaic of microbes: photographer Kristen Earle, PhD; second-year graduate student Gabriel Billings; KC Huang, PhD, a bioengineer and microbiologist; and Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, a microbiologist and co-author of The Good Gut.
Earle told me she took this image while working on a study with Sonnenburg that explores how images, like this one, can help researchers count microbes and see how they're organized in a cross-section of gut.
Previously: Why C. difficile-defanging mouse cure may work in people, too, Drugs for bugs: Industry seeks small molecules to target, tweak and tune up our gut microbes and Civilization and its dietary (dis)contents: Do modern diets starve our gut-microbial community?
Image courtesy of Kristen Earle, Gabriel Billings, KC Huang and Justin Sonnenburg