Microscopic Fish Face Takes First Place in 2016 Nikon Small World Competition

MELVILLE, N.Y., Oct. 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Nikon Instruments Inc. today announced the winners of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, awarding first place to Oscar Ruiz, Ph.D. for his microscopic view of the facial development of a four-day-old zebrafish embryo. Fittingly, Nikon unveiled Dr. Ruiz’s zebrafish “selfie” win first on Instagram this morning, giving followers the first look at the winning images. The full winner gallery can now also be viewed on www.nikonsmallworld.com

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/aad6cd1b-e168-427b-9e33-65bc8a78bf55.

Dr. Ruiz brings the world face-to-face with his research on facial development and cellular morphogenesis with his winning image of a four-day-old zebrafish embryo. Dr. Ruiz uses the zebrafish to study genetic mutations that lead to facial abnormalities such as cleft lip and palate in humans in the lab of Dr. George Eisenhoffer at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

In addition to Dr. Ruiz, Nikon recognized 76 other winners of the 2016 Small World competition, which is comprised of ranked top twenty winning images, 14 Honorable Mentions and 61 Images of Distinction. Scientists, photographers and hobbyists from 70 countries submitted more than 2,000 entries. Judges selected winners that exemplified artistic quality as well as exceptional scientific technique.

Veteran competitor Douglas Moore of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, received second place for his exquisite and colorful image of a polished slab of Teepee Canyon Agate. The third place image by Rebecca Nutbrown of Oxford, United Kingdom, depicts a culture of neurons derived from human skin cells.  

“Whether an image provides a rare glimpse into cutting-edge medical research as we saw from our first place winner, or reveals a fun “too-close-for-comfort” look into the eyes of a spider like one of our Images of Distinction, each evokes a powerful reaction from our judges. Every year we’re looking for that image that makes people lean forward in their seats, sparks their curiosity and leads them to ask new questions,” said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments. “Nearly 100 years of microscopy has paved the way for the evolving technology and innovative techniques that continue to raise the bar of this competition.  Congratulations to all of the winners and entrants for their incredible work.”

For those interested in taking their turn in the judge’s seat, the Nikon Small World Popular Vote is continuing through October 25th. Participants can vote daily for their favorite image among all of the finalists.

The judges were intrigued by Ruiz’s innovative techniques to capture time-lapse images of the developing zebrafish face. Using the time-lapse as a guide, Ruiz is creating an atlas of the development of the zebrafish face. His group is tracking physical landmarks throughout development to create a series of metrics that can be used to accurately describe the cellular movements that occur during the normal development of the face.  These metrics can then be used to identify abnormalities in the development of zebrafish harboring specific genetic mutations identified in human patients.  He hopes that these findings will help provide insight into the cellular and molecular mechanisms that are altered in patients with facial deformities.

“Until now, these facial abnormalities had not been extensively studied in a live context where you can see what’s happening during development in real-time,” said Ruiz. “Using a live-imaging approach means we can better understand and pinpoint exactly how and why these developmental abnormalities occur. The first step is knowing how it happens, then we can figure out how to fix it.”

Top Five Images:

  1. Dr. Oscar Ruiz, Four-day-old zebrafish embryo
  2. Douglas Moore, Polished slab of Teepee Canyon Agate
  3. Rebecca Nutbrown, Culture of neurons derived from human skin cells 
  4. Jochen Schroeder, Butterfly proboscis
  5. Dr. Igor Siwanowicz, Front foot (tarsus) of a male diving beetle

This year’s remarkable roster of judges once again included a combination of distinguished names in the scientific community, science journalism, imaging and video production. The 2016 panel includes:

  • Eric Clark: Research Coordinator and Applications Developer at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University.
  • Dr. Joe Hanson: Biologist, science writer, and the creator and host of PBS Digital Studios’ science education show “It’s Okay To Be Smart.”
  • Rachel Link: Producer for National Geographic curating content for the publication’s Short Film Showcase.
  • Dr. Brian J. Mitchell: Associate Professor in Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
  • Dr. Clare Waterman:  National Institute of Health (NIH) Distinguished Investigator at the Laboratory of Cell and Tissue Morphodynamics.

Top images from the 2016 Nikon Small World Competition will be exhibited in a full-color calendar and through a national museum tour. For additional information, please visit www.nikonsmallworld.com, or follow the conversation on Facebook, Twitter (@NikonSmallWorld) and Instagram (@NikonInstruments).

Nikon Small World In Motion

The celebration of science and art under the microscope continues with another Nikon Small World unveiling still around the corner—this time in the form of video. Nikon will first reveal the winners of its sister competition, Nikon Small World in Motion, via Instagram (@NikonInstruments) on December 7, 2016.

THE OFFICIAL 2016 NIKON SMALL WORLD WINNERS

The following are the Top 20 and Honorable Mentions for Nikon Small World 2016. The full gallery of winning images, along with Images of Distinction can be viewed at www.nikonsmallworld.com.

1st Place
Dr. Oscar Ruiz
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas, USA
Four-day-old zebrafish embryo
Confocal
10x

2nd Place
Douglas L. Moore
University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point Museum of Natural History
Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA
Polished slab of Teepee Canyon agate
Stereomicroscopy
90x

3rd Place
Rebecca Nutbrown
University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences
Oxford, United Kingdom
Culture of neurons (stained green) derived from human skin cells, and Schwann cells, a second type of brain cell (stained red)
Confocal/Immunofluorescence/iPSCs
20x

4th Place
Jochen Schroeder
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Butterfly proboscis
Image Stacking
6.3x

5th Place
Dr. Igor Siwanowicz
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Janelia Research Campus
Ashburn, Virginia, USA
Front foot (tarsus) of a male diving beetle
Confocal
100x

6th Place
Marek Mis
Marek Mis Photography
Suwalki, Podlaskie, Poland
Air bubbles formed from melted ascorbic acid crystals
Polarized Light
50x

7th Place
Dr. David Maitland
www.davidmaitland.com
Feltwell, United Kingdom
Leaves of Selaginella (lesser club moss)
Differential Interference Contrast
40x

8th Place
Samuel Silberman
Yehud-Monosson, Israel
Wildflower stamens
Fiber Optic Illumination
40x

9th Place
Vin Kitayama and Sanae Kitayama
Vinsanchi Art Museum Azumino
Azumino, Nagano, Japan
Espresso coffee crystals
Polarized Light

10th Place
Rogelio Moreno Gill
Panama, Panama
Frontonia (showing ingested food, cilia, mouthand trichocysts)
Differential Interference Contrast
200x

11th Place
Francis Sneyers
Brecht, Belgium
Scales of a butterfly wing underside (Vanessa atalanta)
Macroscopy
10x

12th Place
Dr. Dylan Burnette
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Human HeLa cell undergoing cell division (cytokinesis). DNA (yellow), myosin II (blue) and actin filaments (red)
Structured Illumination
60x

13th Place
Walter Piorkowski
South Beloit, Illinois, USA
Poison fangs of a centipede (Lithobius erythrocephalus)
Fiber Optic Illumination/Image Stacking
16x

14th Place
Dr. Keunyoung Kim
University of California, San Diego, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR)
La Jolla, California, USA
Mouse retinal ganglion cells
Fluorescence/Confocal
40x

15th Place
Geir Drange
Asker, Norway
Head section of an orange ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata)
Reflected Light/Focus Stacking
10x

16th Place
Stefano Barone
Diatom Shop
Palazzo Pignano, Italy
65 fossil Radiolarians (zooplankton) carefully arranged by hand in Victorian style
Darkfield
100x

17th Place
Jose Almodovar
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, Biology Department
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Slime mold (Mixomicete)
Image Stacking/Reflected Light
5x

18th Place
Pia Scanlon
Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Biosecurity and Regulation – Pest Diagnostics
South Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Parts of wing-cover (elytron), abdominal segments and hind leg of a broad-shouldered leaf beetle (Oreina cacaliae)
Stereomicroscopy, Image Stacking
40x

19th Place
Dr. Gist F. Croft, Lauren Pietilla, Stephanie Tse, Dr. Szilvia Galgoczi, Maria Fenner, Dr. Ali H. Brivanlou
Rockefeller University, Brivanlou Laboratory
New York, New York, USA
Human neural rosette primordial brain cells, differentiated from embryonic stem cells
Confocal
10x

20th Place
Michael Crutchley
Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom
Cow dung
Darkfield
30x

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Dr. Leonardo Andrade
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Zebrafish fin with cylindrical bone segments and rows of pigmented epithelial cells
Differential Interference Contrast
50x

Evan Darling
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York, USA
Scales of a butterfly wing
Confocal
10x

Dr. Keunyoung Kim
University of California, San Diego, National Center
for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR)
La Jolla, California, USA
Retinal ganglion cells in the whole-mounted mouse retina
Fluorescence/Confocal
20x

Charles Krebs
Charles Krebs Photography
Issaquah, Washington, USA
Tail of a small shrimp
Reflected Light
40x

Hei Ming Lai and Dr. Wutian Wu
The University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, China
Dentate gyrus of an optically-cleared transgenic mouse brain in 3D
Confocal
10x

David Millard
Austin, Texas, USA
Seeds of an Indian Paintbrush wildflower (Castilleja indivisa)
Fiber Optic Illumination/ Image Stacking
4x

David Millard
Austin, Texas, USA
Curvepod Fumewort (Corydalis curvisiliqua) seed
Image Stacking
4.5x

Marek Mis
Marek Mis Photography
Suwalki, Podlaskie, Poland
Caudal gill of a dragonfly larva
Polarized Light, Darkfield
25x

Marek Mis
Marek Mis Photography
Suwalki, Podlaskie, Poland
Leg of a water boatman (Corixidae)
Polarized Light, Darkfield
25x

Jacek Myslowski
Wloclawek, Poland
Micrasterias thomasiana (algae)
Fluorescence
400x

Samuel Silberman
Yehud-Monosson, Israel
Wildflower stamens
Fiber Optic Illumination
40x

Dr. Igor Siwanowicz
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Janelia Research Campus
Ashburn, Virginia, USA
Interior of a bisected trap of a humped bladderwort (Urticularia gibba), a fresh water carnivorous plant
Confocal
100x

Dr. Igor Siwanowicz
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Janelia Research Campus
Ashburn, Virginia, USA
Gears coupling hind legs of a planthopper nymph
Confocal
250x

About Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition
The Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography. Participants may submit their images in traditional 35mm format, or upload digital images directly at www.nikonsmallworld.com. For additional information, contact Nikon Small World, Nikon Instruments Inc., 1300 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, NY 11747, USA or phone (631) 547-8569. Entry forms for Nikon’s 2016 Small World Competition may also be downloaded from www.nikonsmallworld.com.

About Nikon Instruments Inc.
Nikon Instruments, Inc. is a world leader in the development and manufacture of optical and digital imaging technology for biomedical applications. Now in its 99th year, Nikon provides complete optical systems that offer optimal versatility, performance and productivity. Cutting-edge instruments include microscopes, precision measuring equipment, digital imaging products and software. Nikon Instruments is the microscopy and instrumentation arm of Nikon Inc., the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology. For more information, visit www.nikoninstruments.com. Product-related inquiries may be directed to Nikon Instruments at 800-52-NIKON.

CONTACT: Media Contact:
Nicole Newby
Peppercomm
212-931-6164
nnewby@peppercomm.com
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