Intestinal section from a gnotobiotic mouse model inoculated with selected
bacterial species from the human gut. Blue=Bacteroides WH2, green=Bacteroides thetaiotamicron, pink=Bacteroides vulgatus, yellow=Collinsella aerofaciens, red=Ruminococcus torques. Credit: Yuko Hasegawa, MBL Woods Hole.

Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts (MEFs) grown on glass coverslips coated with 10 ug/ml Fibronectin. CIL:7439 Image by Ana M. Pasapera and Clare M. Waterman


The Cell: An Image Library™ now has over 4,350 research quality cellular images, videos, and animations, and welcomes submissions and feedback. The open access Library* is supported by a Grand Opportunities grant Award Number RC2GM092708 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was launched December 2010 by the American Society for Cell Biology. It features expert annotation and will showcase the most illustrative images with a new top ten feature.

The new repository of microscopy data gives researchers the opportunity to archive their data for their own use, as well as make that information available to other researchers. Ever wondered what to do with the images that guided your discovery but were not in the published paper? Now you can archive them in The Cell for your own future use and that of others. The U.S. National Science Foundation even requires that grantees have data management plans to provide open access to images, etc.

Please visit the site to find images of interest and submit images to develop the collection. Using the Library in your teaching or training? Please let us know.

For additional comments or questions, please contact David Orloff (dorloff@ascb.org), Manager, Image Library.

*The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIGMS, NIH, or ASCB.

Chelsea Connolly, a BDWH student, stands next to a Western blot she is using to detect target proteins.

Chelsea Connolly, a BDWH student, stands next to a Western blot she is using to detect target proteins.

By Sarah Stanley

Chelsea Connolly, an undergraduate at Valdosta State University, is spending her summer at the MBL as part of the Biological Discovery in Woods Hole (BDWH) program. She is working in the MBL’s Josephine Bay Paul Center, with Chief Academic and Scientific Officer Joshua Hamilton acting as her mentor.

“I’ve gotten to meet lots of people with similar interests here,” Connolly says. “I’m happy to have found this opportunity.”

Connolly is contributing to a study investigating the effects of low doses of arsenic in human cells. Specifically, she is looking at how arsenic affects receptors of hormone molecules that influence DNA transcription in embryonic kidney cells. DNA transcription is the first step to protein synthesis, so altering its course can significantly affect a cell. Connolly says that preliminary data indicates current standards for acceptable levels of arsenic in drinking water may be too relaxed.

“The lab is well funded and has good equipment, so we can explore multiple avenues,” Connolly says. “We can look at proteins, mRNA, and other data to tie a lot together.”

Connolly has been involved in research at Valdosta State University, where she studied the molecular biology of plants and algae. This is the first time she’s had the opportunity to work with human cells.

Paul Malchow, a faculty member at University of Illinois, Chicago, and Allen Mensinger of University of Minnesota, Duluth, co-founded BDWH, which provides undergraduates with research experiences they may not have access to at their own institutions.

“Paul and Al are really helpful, especially when it comes to giving advice about grad school and careers. I’m lucky to be here,” Connolly says.

More information about the BDWH program can be found here: http://www.mbl.edu/education/courses/other_programs/reu.html

Chelsea Connolly, a BDWH student, uses human embryonic kidney cells in her research project.

Connolly uses human embryonic kidney cells in her research project.

Connolly examines human embryonic kidney cells under a microscope.

Connolly examines human embryonic kidney cells under a microscope.

IMG_1218 (1)

Earlier this summer, MBL CEO Gary Borisy snapped a shot of the newly painted rosettes on the facade of Lillie. Photo by Sally Casper

This summer, the facade of the Lillie building was treated to a facelift. While the red brick, concrete bands, and painted copper panels were cleaned, research was performed to determine the original intentions of the architect. Richard Cutler, the MBL’s director of facilities, thought the copper panels decorated with marine images may have originally been unpainted, and he and his team were prepared to restore them to their original state. However, it turns out they were intended to be painted from the start.

“The relief on the copper panels is now more prominent to the naked eye with a fresh coat of paint,” Cutler says. “Two things had changed over the years. There used to be four lights on the main entrance. We’re looking to restore that look. And changes to the windows had given the building a slightly different look. We made it better, in my opinion, by painting over the off-color window panels to match the rest of the paint.”

Lillie was built in 1924, and was originally called the Main Laboratory.  The director of the MBL at the time was Frank R. Lillie, for whom the building is now named.

Betzig2By Diana Kenney and Sarah Stanley

Friday was the last day MBL Physiology and Neurobiology students had Eric Betzig’s latest invention to explore. Two weeks ago, Betzig (left) brought his new contribution to high-resolution microscopy to the MBL from his lab at HHMI’s Janelia Farm campus and installed it in the central microscopy facility on the ground floor of Loeb.

“It’s really at the very bleeding edge,” Betzig says of his microscope, “but it’s a really good time to bring it (to the MBL), where all sorts of world-class cell biologists throw everything they can think of at it. We can learn through trial by fire what works and what doesn’t.”

The microscope combines two concepts—plane illumination microscopy and Bessel beams—to allow for high-resolution imaging within live cells. Cell components are labeled with fluorescent markers, and excitation of these markers by specific wavelengths of light allows them to be visualized by the microscope. (See video below to hear Betzig explain how his Bessel beam plane illumination microscope works).

The microscope is the just latest invention that Betzig has test-run at the MBL. In 2007, Betzig loaded his cutting-edge PALM (photoactivated localization microscopy) equipment into the back of an SUV and drove it up to the Physiology course, upon the invitation of Physiology faculty member and NIH senior investigator Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz. PALM allows scientists to discriminate molecules only two to 25 nanometers apart, a vast improvement on the previous 200-nanometer limitation. At the MBL, Betzig, Lippincott-Schwartz, Jim and Cathy Galbraith of the NIH, Hari Shroff, a former Physiology student, and students then in the course worked feverishly around the clock with PALM. “By the end of two weeks, we had gotten PALM to work with live cells for the first time!” says Lippincott-Swartz. Not only that, but they got PALM to work with two colors of fluorescent probes rather than one, and demonstrated that it could be used to track single molecules in live cells. “It was a spectacular session, and it led to several publications,” Lippincott-Swartz says.

What’s next for Betzig? “I don’t know how many times we’ll invent a new microscope,” Betzig says, “but when we do, the MBL is a good place to be for that kind of intense trial to try to find out what works.”

Janelia Farms/HHMI scientists Thomas Planchon, Research Specialist; Eric Betzig, Group Leader; and Liang Gao, Postdoctoral Scientist, have been testing a new microscope with the help of MBL students and faculty.

Janelia Farm/HHMI scientists Thomas Planchon, Research Specialist; Eric Betzig, Group Leader; and Liang Gao, Postdoctoral Scientist, have been testing a new microscope with the help of MBL students and faculty.

Eric Betzig works on the new microscope.

Eric Betzig works on the new microscope.

Betzig discusses the new Bessel beam plane illumination microscope:

In this clip, Betzel’s microscope allows for visualization of histones – proteins associated with DNA – inside a pig kidney cell:

Here, the microscope reveals a network of mitochondria – cellular components that synthesize ATP, the “fuel” of the cell – inside a human cancer cell:

By Matt Person

If this photo suggests someone who has been far away and returned to report on his explorations, then it accurately depicts MBL scientist Paul Colinvaux’s informal lecture in the last of the MBLWHOI Library’s Summer Salon series. Reading from his book, Amazon Expeditions: My Quest for the Ice-Age Equator (2008, Yale University Press), Colinvaux gave a “you are there” sense of the exciting discoveries he made during his long career, which included climate research revelations during a search for lakes on cloud-shrouded Galapagos Island mountaintops; trekking deep into the Amazon for further climate studies; and recounting his earliest climate research in the Alaska wilderness.

“This is a memoir of a life in science. It is a story of exploring,” writes Colinvaux in a synopsis to his book. “It is a story of a great hypothesis [the refuge hypothesis] that grew into a scientific paradigm of our times. It explores the Amazon, the ice age, and climate change. … It is a tale of when evolutionary ecology came of age, to seek causes for the diversity of living things. … It tells of the power of paradigms to control the thoughts of men and of a struggle to remove an Amazon paradigm whose consequence was mischievous.”

Paul Colinvaux speaks at the MBLWHOI Library's Summer Salon series. Photo by Matt Person

Paul Colinvaux speaks at the MBLWHOI Library's Summer Salon series. Photo by Matt Person

By Julia Darcey

Perhaps the only way to fully appreciate Woods Hole’s blue ponds and long points is from the air. Peter Mangiafico, scientific informatics project leader for the Encyclopedia of Life (www.eol.org), recently got his pilot’s license and has been treating friends and family to some magnificent views during flights in a rental Cessna.

From left: Anthony Goddard, uBio lead developer & systems administrator, David Shorthouse, scientific informatics project leader, and at the plane's controls, Peter Mangiafico, all of the EOL.  Photo by Anthony Goddard.

From left: Anthony Goddard, uBio lead developer & systems administrator; David Shorthouse, EOL scientific informatics project leader; and Mangiafico in the pilot's seat. Photo by Anthony Goddard

Mangiafico’s wife, Karen Casciotti, who is an associate scientist in Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry at WHOI, captured this beautiful shot of Woods Hole, with Eel Pond at center, during another flight.

Photo by Karen Casciotti.

Photo by Karen Casciotti.

By Julia Darcey

The MBL is known for bringing scientists from separate institutions together for unique and productive collaborations. That was a big draw for husband and wife, Joseph D. Buxbaum, a molecular geneticist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Dorothy E. Grice, a child psychiatrist at Columbia University, who rarely get the chance to work side-by-side. Their joint work at the MBL bore fruit this month when a paper they wrote with lead author Yuji Kajiwara, also of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was published online in Biological Psychiatry. The team found that SLITRK1, a neural protein linked to Tourette syndrome and OCD, has an important binding protein called 14-3-3 and must be phosphorylated to function. Knowing how SLITRK1 functions is the first step to understanding its role in brain development and in disorders like Tourette syndrome.

Joseph Buxbaum (left) with lead author Yuji Kajiwara.  Their collaborator Dorothy Grice,<br /> who is married to Buxbaum, is presently in New York.  Photo by Julia Darcey
Joseph Buxbaum (left) and Yuji Kajiwara. Their collaborator Dorothy Grice,
who is married to Buxbaum, is presently in New York. Photo by Julia Darcey

“Because we work at separate institutions, we rarely get to share time in the lab. Working together at the bench, where we each contribute from our own areas of expertise, is an important part of our collaboration. So the opportunity to really work closely together is here, at the MBL,” Buxbaum says. Grice knew first-hand that the MBL was the perfect place to collaborate on this project—she grew up in Woods Hole, where her mother was an MBL librarian and her father a scientist at WHOI. “I knew from growing up here,” she says, “that the MBL would provide a great scientific environment. And we knew that it would be a great setting for the molecular biology and functional studies we wanted to do.”