A Glimpse Into the Central Nervous System Wins the 13th Annual Nikon Small World in Motion Competition
This year’s Nikon Small World in Motion winning video has universal applications.
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Nikon Instruments Inc. today unveiled the winners of the 13th annual Nikon Small World in Motion Video Competition. This year’s first place prize was awarded to Dr. Alexandre Dumoulin for his 48-hour time-lapse video of developing neurons connecting to the opposite side of the central nervous system in a chicken. Developed at the University of Zurich, Dumoulin’s video plays a significant role in understanding the potential deviations in neurodevelopmental disorders that occur in the central nervous system, such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia.
Neurons are responsible for carrying information throughout the human body. They are connected with long extensions known as axons and these axons traverse the nervous system before eventually forming synapses. Dumoulin’s video showcases these lengthy axons projecting across the midline, which serves as a boundary between the two hemispheres of the central nervous system. In neurological disorders, axons are impaired and unable to make their intended journeys.
Dr. Alexandre Dumoulin joined Technology Networks' junior science editor Rhianna-Lily Smith for an exclusive interview to talk about their entry and how it feels to win first place.
“My research focuses on investigating the developmental processes of neurons in chicken and mouse embryos,” said Dumoulin. “By studying these organisms, I aim to enhance our comprehension of how the nervous system functions and identify potential factors contributing to neurodevelopmental disorders.”
He went on to say, “The nervous system is an immensely complex and intricate system composed of a myriad of units that are connected to one another. In this video, we see single units and how they behave.”
To capture the video, Dumoulin applied a new imaging method to visualize the live transfer of information from cells. “The biggest challenge was to discover a feasible method to access these neurons and capture images over an extended period of time,” said Dumoulin. “A combination of precise dissection skills and adapted microscopy techniques proved to be the key.”
In Dumoulin’s eyes, the competition provides an opportunity to share his research efforts and passion for microscopy with the world, “I wanted to share these mesmerizing developing neurons with the public. To me, that's the essence of this competition, highlighting the beauty of nature through the lens of scientific research.”
Eric Flem, Communications and CRM Manager at Nikon Instruments, could not agree more. “For nearly half a century, we’ve received awe-inspiring entries that are not only visually stunning but scientifically groundbreaking,” said Flem. “This year’s winning video is no different; while beautiful, Dumoulin’s entry can carry significant meaning for the advancement and understanding of abnormal diffusion in axons for neurodevelopmental diseases, leading to more answers and solutions in the medical field and beyond.”
Second place was awarded to Fabian J. Weston with Protist Lab Films for his video of blood flow in the tail fin of a small fish. To capture the video, Weston worked with a live organism on a 1 mm deep slide and administered filtered sample water with oxygen throughout the filming process.
Third place was awarded to Nell Saunders with the Institut Pasteur for her video of human cells fusing and dying upon infection by SARS-CoV-2.
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