These images were singled out in past years in the GE Healthcare Cell Imaging Competition. Entries for the 2013 competition are being accepted through October 15th, so stay tuned for another showcase of beautiful cells from researchers around the world. In the meantime, click through the photos to learn more about how each image was sequenced.
"Draw what you see." This most basic of lessons tends to apply obviously to the macroscopic, the forms that we can see with the unassisted human eye. In the visualization of microscopic subjects, we often rely on loose approximations or vague indications of the actual object’s appearance. My search for science-based artists uncovers many who claim only a scientific aesthetic, an image simply reminiscent of some scientific phenomenon, but symbolic of something else entirely.
Anything with a diameter less than about half a micrometre cannot be seen, even with the help of a light microscope—the wavelengths of light in the visible spectrum dwarf that distance. Goodsell uses data from atomic structure analysis, electron microscopy, and biochemical analysis to portray an accurate number, size, shape, and placement of molecules. This diligence combined with his brilliant sense of color and design results in informative and beautiful ink and watercolor art that provides a very literal look into the complex cores of our beings.
Images: Scanning electron micrographs (SEM) of mitochondria
Most people know it as the powerhouse of the cell, or where most of a cell’s ATP (the chemical currency of cells) is made. Most cells will have one or two of these structures within them, but depending on what the cell’s job is can impact directly the amount of mitochondria it contains.
The inner mitochondrial membrane is the location of the electron transport chain. Here, a system of proteins undergo a series of redox reactions which allow a proton gradient to be formed. Due to the chemiosmotic effect, the power of this gradient can be harnessed by proteins by allowing a stead flow of protons down the gradient, in which ATP is formed.
There is a substantial amount of evidence that suggests mitochondria were originally a species of free ancient-bacteria that were engulfed by early cells. This was suggested as they have their own DNA and replicate independently of the host as well as their outer membranes resembling more eukaryotic membranes, while the inner membrane resembles a bacterial membrane.