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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

ChBE research images on display at National Institutes of Health

Several research images from Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering faculty are currently on display at the National Institutes of Health.

The exhibit was organized by the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and includes images from the labs of Professors Hyunjoon Kong, Brendan Harley, and Huimin Zhao. All three are researchers affiliated with IGB.

The IGB’s Art of Science program is a celebration of common ground between science and art. Each exhibit comprises images from IGB’s research portfolio, captured in its core facilities, and enhanced to highlight the beauty and fascination encountered daily in scientific endeavors. Art of Science images have been displayed at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, The Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, the German Center for Innovation in NYC, and Abbott Diagnostics, among other locations.

The images can be found in the hallway just outside the library in the NIH Clinical Center (Building 10), down the hall from the Masur Auditorium in Betheseda, MD.

Ultrasound imaging is used extensively in diagnostic medicine. When tiny, stable bubbles like the ones shown here are introduced to the bloodstream as a contrast agent, the difference between blood vessels and the surrounding tissue in echogenicity (the ability to reflect the ultrasound waves) is enhanced. The resulting image quality leads to improved diagnosis of cancers and vascular diseases. Zeiss Stereolumar v12 microscope, Jinrong Chen, Hyunjoon Kong Laboratory 6.0 Exhibition, Funded by the NIH.

Genome editing holds immense promise in revolutionizing all aspects of medicine and many other industries. By understanding how gene editing proteins behave inside the cell at the single molecule level, researchers can gain insights into designing highly-specific technologies. CRISPR has been deservedly recognized as an efficient way to edit DNA, but scientists have other strategies to choose from. TALE molecular pathways are more accurate than CRISPR in their identification of DNA sites to be edited. This image evokes the precise pathways taken by the TALE molecules along strands of DNA in living cells. Nikon Ti Eclipse Microscope, Surbhi Jain, Huimin Zhao Laboratory. Funded by the NIH.
In this image, a few dark points stand out against a softer, textured background. These points represent individual copies of a single gene within human cancer cells. The researchers
who created this image developed a new method that allows them to track, in 3D, the location of individual genes within cells. This tool will allow researchers to visualize fundamental biological processes and reveal how these processes are disrupted in diseases such as cancer. Zeiss Elyra S1 Super Resolution Structured Illumination Microscope. Ipek Tasan, Huimin Zhao Laboratory, Funded by the NIH.
Many processes within the body are changed by the presence of cancer. These images show the response of microglia, immune defense cells in the brain, to cancer cells. When microglia encounter glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most aggressive brain cancers, they shift from a relaxed, elongated shape to a rounded, ready-for-combat conformation. These images echo the work of Anna Atkins, a British botanist and photographer who used a contact printing technique called cyanotyping to capture the form of plants and algae. Emily Chen’s work similarly seeks to explore biological function, in this case the immune response to brain cancer, by capturing and comparing biological forms. Zeiss LSM 710 Confocal Microscope, Jee-Wei Emily Chen, Brendan Harley Laboratory. Funded by the NIH.
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