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Microscopy magic lands major prize for Dundee researcher

A striking 3D architectural image showing microscopic detail of cell nuclei of the colon has won a researcher at the University of Dundee the top prize in the international Nikon 2006 Small World Photomicrography Competition.

Dr Paul Appleton, a researcher in the College of Life Sciences, was awarded first prize in the competition at a ceremony in New York on Thursday September 21st.

His work will now be shown at a special Nikon Small World event later in the year, featured on a 2007 full-color wall calendar, and travel the United States as part of a Nikon Small World museum tour. He also receives equipment from Nikon as part of his prize.

Knowing the normal arrangement of cells and intracellular structures of the colon allows scientists to measure the earliest changes in tumour formation in this tissue. Dr Appleton's prize-winning image shows the 3D architecture of the surface of the colon revealing the arrangement of nuclei within the cells that form the lining of the colon. The image brilliantly conveys the complexity and order in the colon tissue.

The International microscopy competition is open to all disciplines of science and received over 1700 entrants. The first twenty prize-winning images are exhibited at numerous museums and science centres throughout the United States.

Dr Appleton is a member of Dr Inke Näthke’s laboratory in the Division of Cell and Developmental Biology in the College of Life Sciences and is part of a team whose aim is to understand how changes in cells in colon tissue lead to tumour formation.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the Western world and the Näthke Lab’s aim is to understand how the most commonly found molecular change in colon cancer initiates tumours. Paul develops and implements imaging techniques including 2-photon microscopy that allow the group to visualize and quantitate such changes in the relevant tissue.

Paul's work is funded through grants from Cancer Research UK.

Paul also received an Honorable Mention for an image of Villi in the small intestine and Dr Alan Prescott of the Division of Cell Biology and Immunology in the College of Life Sciences also received an Honorable Mention for his image showing the localization of specific heat shock proteins in cells.

Roddy Isles | alfa
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