The most beautiful scientific images in Buch 2016

Biomedical research can have a very aesthetically pleasing appearance. That can be seen in the photos taken by many scientists on a daily basis. In a yearly contest, the Best Scientific Images are selected from among the images submitted by members of staff at the Buch campus. This year’s three winners have now been chosen out of 42 sbmissions. 

The splendor, elegance and beauty of science are often only visible to those who immerse themselves in it and who understand its complex inner workings as well as appreciating the superficial beauty of nature. Who thinks scientifically, may see the world through different eyes, and looking at nature they often feel a sense of emotion, fascination, and even awe. For may, this is one reason to choose science over other careers.

The Best Scientific Images Contest seeks to engage with the viewer on this emotional level. Each year, staff members at the Buch campus select their most beautiful, impressive or fascinating images and submit them to the contest. Visitors to the Long Night of the Sciences then select their favorites from the large-scale images displayed. The contest is organized by Prof. Helmut Kettenmann and his team.

1st prize: Signal transduction in development and carcinogenesis


Julian Heuberger from the MDC group led by Walter Birchmeier, and Anje Sporbert from the MDC’s Advanced Light Microscopy (ALM) technology platform, submitted the image of a mouse embryo. The image is in fact a three-dimensional reconstruction made up of 360 individual images. The developing nervous system is visible in green.

This is what the scientists had to say about the image: “Fine nerve fibers run through the embryo. The nervous system is created during embryonic development, keeps developing after birth, and remains a flexible and adaptable organ. The fine neuronal structures are extremely sensitive throughout pregnancy and vulnerable to external influences. That’s why alcohol consumption, smoking, radiation and certain maternal conditions can cause damage to the embryo’s developing nervous system.”

2nd prize: Circular RNAs in neural cells


Christin Stottmeister in the MDC group led by Nikolaus Rajewsky submitted an image reminiscent of faraway galaxies. The image depicts cells found in malignant brain tumors with a type of circular molecules – circular RNA (circRNA) – we still know relatively little about. These molecules are present in many tissues, but mostly in the brain. “The role it plays there – in diseases or even in neuronal differentiation – is still unclear and that forms the focus of our research,” says Christin. “We are trying to understand the functions of circRNAs with the help of bioinformatics methods and molecular biological manipulations in cell cultures.”

3rd prize: Cross section of a mouse’s seminiferous tubule


The image submitted by Fatimunnisa Qadri from the MDC’s working group led by Michael Bader depicts a mouse’s seminiferous tubule magnified 40 times. The cell nuclei are visible in blue. The gametes, which develop into sperm cells, are located in the outer area. Next to them you can see the cytoplasm of the Sertoli cells marked in green. They support the development of the spermatozoa. “You can see that the developing spermatozoa are closely nestled between the far-reaching cytoplasmic strands of the Sertoli cells,” says Fatimunnisa.

Fatimunnisa conducted research on mice with an importin-alpha7 protein deficiency. “One abnormality among these mice is infertility in males. In order to more accurately characterize the testicular disorder in question, we immunohistochemically stained the paraffin sections of the mice’s testicles with various antibodies.”

Additional links