Fluorescence Turtle Embryo Wins Forty-Fifth Annual Nikon Small World Competition

The winners of the 45th annual competition showcase a spectacular blend of science and artistry under the microscope.

Nikon Instruments Inc. today announced the winners of the forty-fifth annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. First place was awarded to microscopy technician Teresa Zgoda and recent university graduate Teresa Kugler for their visually stunning and painstakingly prepared photo of a turtle embryo. Captured using fluorescence and stereo microscopy, the colorful final image is a masterful example of image-stitching. Image-stitching is an imaging technique that required the 2019 winning pair to stack and stitch together hundreds of images to create the final image of their turtle. Adding to the challenge was the size and thickness of the turtle embryo. Creating the final image required precision, patience, and deep imaging expertise, as the organism’s size meant only very small parts of the turtle could be imaged on the focal plane at a time. Both Kugler and Zgoda are passionate photomicrographers, saying microscopy is a hobby that allows them to spend time on their dual passions of science and creative pursuits. Their winning image perfectly exemplifies the blend of science and art Nikon Small World aims to bring to the public each year. Zgoda currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts, Kugler in New York. “Microscopy lets us zoom in on the smallest organisms and building blocks that comprise our world – giving us a profound appreciation for the small things in life that far too often go unnoticed,” said Kugler, “It allows me to do science with a purpose.” “We are inspired by the beautiful images we see through the microscope,” added Zgoda, “It’s humbling and deeply fulfilling to be able to share that science with other people.” “The Nikon Small World competition has been bringing stunning scientific images to the public for 45 years now,” said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments, “Our goal has always been to show the world how art and science intersect. As new imaging and microscopy techniques develop over the years, our winners showcase these technology advances more and more creatively. First place this year is no exception.” Second place was awarded to Nikon Small World veteran Dr. Igor Siwanowicz for his composite image of three single-cell freshwater protozoans, sometimes called "trumpet animalcules.” He used confocal microscopy to capture the detail of the cilia, tiny hairs used by the animals for feeding and locomotion. In third place is Mr. Daniel Smith Paredes, who placed for his image of a developing American alligator embryo. He snapped this photo at around 20 days of development using immunofluorescence and is studying the development and evolution of vertebrate anatomy. In addition to the top three winners, Nikon Small World recognized 86 photos out of thousands of entries from scientists and artists across the globe. The 2019 judging panel included:

  • Dr. Denisa Wagner, Edwin Cohn Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and the head of the Wagner Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital.

  • Dr. Rita Strack, Senior Editor at Nature Methods.

  • Tom Hale, Staff Writer at IFLScience.

  • Ben Guarino, Science Reporter at The Washington Post.

  • Eric Clark (Moderator): Research Coordinator and Applications Developer at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University.

2019 NIKON SMALL WORLD WINNERS The following are the Top 20 and Honorable Mentions for Nikon Small World 2019. The full gallery of winning images, along with Images of Distinction, can be viewed at www.nikonsmallworld.com 1st Place Teresa Zgoda & Teresa Kugler Campbell Hall, New York, USA Fluorescent turtle embryo Stereomicroscopy, Fluorescence 5x (Objective Lens Magnification) 2nd Place Dr. Igor Siwanowicz Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Janelia Research Campus Ashburn, Virginia, USA Depth-color coded projections of three stentors (single-cell freshwater protozoans) Confocal 40x (Objective Lens Magnification) 3rd Place Daniel Smith Paredes & Dr. Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar Yale University Department of Geology and Geophysics New Haven, Connecticut, USA Alligator embryo developing nerves and skeleton Immunofluorescence 10x (Objective Lens Magnification) 4th Place Jan Rosenboom Universität Rostock Rostock, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Germany Male mosquito Focus Stacking 6.3x (Objective Lens Magnification) 5th Place Caleb Foster Caleb Foster Photography Jericho, Vermont, USA Snowflake Transmitted Light 4x (Objective Lens Magnification) 6th Place Javier Rupérez Almáchar, Málaga, Spain Small white hair spider Reflected Light, Image Stacking 20x (Objective Lens Magnification) 7th Place Dr. Guillermo López López Alicante, Spain Chinese red carnation stamen Focus Stacking 3x (Objective Lens Magnification) 8th Place Garzon Christian Quintin, Cotes-d’Armor, France Frozen water droplet Incident Light 8x (Objective Lens Magnification) 9th Place Andrei Savitsky Cherkassy, Ukraine Tulip bud cross section Reflected Light 1x (Objective Lens Magnification) 10th Place Jason M. Kirk Baylor College of Medicine Optical Imaging & Vital Microscopy Core Houston, Texas, USA BPAE cells in telophase stage of mitosis Confocal with Enhanced Resolution 63x (Objective Lens Magnification) 11th Place Dr. Yujun Chen & Dr. Jocelyn McDonald Kansas State University Department of Biology Manhattan, Kansas, USA A pair of ovaries from an adult Drosophila female stained for F-actin (yellow) and nuclei (green); follicle cells are marked by GFP (magenta) Confocal 10x (Objective Lens Magnification) 12th Place Anne Algar Hounslow, Middlesex, United Kingdom Mosquito larva Darkfield, Polarizing Light, Image Stacking 4x (Objective Lens Magnification) 13th Place Dr. Emilio Carabajal Márquez Madrid, Spain Cuprite (mineral composed of copper oxide) Focus Stacking 20x (Objective Lens Magnification) 14th Place Antoine Franck CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development Saint Pierre, Réunion Female Oxyopes dumonti (lynx) spider Focus Stacking 1x (Objective Lens Magnification) 15th Place Marek Miś Marek Miś Photography Suwalki, Podlaskie, Poland Pregnant Daphnia magna (small planktonic crustacean) Modified Darkfield, Polarized Light, Image Stacking 4x (Objective Lens Magnification) 16th Place Dr. Razvan Cornel Constantin Bucharest, Romania Housefly compound eye pattern Focus Stacking, Reflected Light 50x (Objective Lens Magnification) 17th Place Karl Deckart Eckental, Bavaria, Germany Vitamin C Brightfield, Polarized Light 4x (Objective Lens Magnification) 18th Place E. Billie Hughes Lotus Gemology Bangkok, Thailand Cristobalite crystal suspended in its quartz mineral host Darkfield 40x (Objective Lens Magnification) 19th Place Martyna Lukoseviciute & Dr. Carrie Albertin University of Oxford Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom Octopus bimaculoides embryo Confocal, Image Stitching 5x (Objective Lens Magnification) 20th Place Simon Merz, Lea Bornemann & Sebastian Korste University Hospital Essen Institute for Experimental Immunology & Imaging Essen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany Blood vessels of a murine (mouse) heart following myocardial infarction (heart attack) Tissue Clearing, Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy 2x (Objective Lens Magnification) Honorable Mentions Nathan Burns National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Bethesda, Maryland, USA Endothelial cells in intestine of an 18.5-day old mouse embryo. Blood vessels and intestinal lining in blue; nerves in red and green. Confocal 10x (Objective Lens Magnification) Caleb Dawson The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research Department of Cancer Biology and Stem Cells Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Myoepithelial cells wrapped around milk-producing alveoli in a lactating mouse 3D Confocal 63x (Objective Lens Magnification) Dr. Tagide deCarvalho University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Keith R. Porter Imaging Facility Baltimore, Maryland, USA Penicillium mold spores Confocal 63x (Objective Lens Magnification) Güray Dere Istanbul, Turkey Seed of an unknown garden bush Focus Stacking 5x (Objective Lens Magnification) Sergii Dymchenko SDym Photography Bellevue, Washington, USA Mold on a plum seed Reflected Light, Image Stacking 4x (Objective Lens Magnification) Anthony Brent Eason University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA Human herpesvirus-8 replicating (red) inside the nucleus (blue) of a human blood vessel cell. Cell skeleton (tubulin) is shown in green. Fluorescence 100x (Objective Lens Magnification) Dr. Walter Ferrari CONICET La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina Louse hanging from a hair Darkfield, Focus Stacking 10x (Objective Lens Magnification) Nicolas Harmand, David Pereira & Dr. Sylvie Hénon Université Paris Diderot Department of Physics Paris, France Dog kidney cells on a circular pattern of adhesion proteins Confocal 60x (Objective Lens Magnification) Frederic Labaune Education Nationale Auxonne, Burgundy, France Heart of Geranium dissectum Episcopy, Focus Stacking 10x (Objective Lens Magnification) Dr. Balint Markus drmarkusmicroscopy Vertessomlo, Hungary Fossil ammonites Nomarski Interference Contrast, Image Stitching 10x (Objective Lens Magnification) Dr. Ana T. Nogueira, Dr. Shiqiong Hu, Dr. Jesse Aaron & Dr. Takashi Watanabe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Pharmacology Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA Actin cytoskeleton of macrophages during frustrated (artificial) phagocytosis iPALM - Interferometric Photoactivated Localization Microscopy 60x (Objective Lens Magnification) Andrey Semenenko Kharkiv, Ukraine Blend of dried ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and sugar Light Microscopy 5x (Objective Lens Magnification) Jan van IJken Jan van IJken Photography & Film Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands Licmophora flabellata (Colonial diatoms) Darkfield, Focus Stacking 20x (Objective Lens Magnification) Ji Yuan World Expo Museum Shanghai, China Alcides orontes (moth) wing Focus Stacking 20x (Objective Lens Magnification) Justin Zoll Justin Zoll Photography Ithaca, New York, USA Crystallized amino acids L-glutamine and beta-alanine Polarized Light 4x (Objective Lens Magnification)