Photo Competition

Blue 293t

Blue 293t

Theme: The Result of Science
Award: Runner-Up
Photographer: Elizabeth Ham
I took this photograph this Easter while interning in a stem cell research lab at The Children’s Hospital Boston. Over the course of the time I was there I grew my own 293t cells to use for artistic purposes. The 293t cells originated as human embryonic kidney cells, and had been transferred by gene mutation to cancer cells so they could be propagated in culture quickly by cancer growth. I used a program on the computer called Leica DFC300 FX, which connects the cells under a microscope to the computer where you can take snapshots of them. The cells shown are blue because I used a florescent nucleic dye called DAPI (4’, 6–diamino–2–phenylindole) which stains the nuclei of the cells being photographed blue. For this reason the photograph is made up of the cell’s nuclei only. I think this photograph represents the result of science because in an abstract way the photograph can represent a section of the planet Earth. The darker region in the bottom right corner is the 96 well plate where the cells grew. In my opinion the shape of this area represents the curvature of the Earth, the cell groupings represent areas of land, and the blank areas are oceans. For this reason the photograph looks like a section of the world itself, and the photograph shows how the results of science are universal. The colour of the photograph has been boosted twice on iPhoto.

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