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2012 Celldance Winners | ASCB 2012

12/20/2012
Megan Scudellari

A microscopic Star Wars epic and a silent film tribute to fruit flies take top honors at the American Society for Cell Biology’s 2012 Celldance competition.


Four days after the Golden Globes nominations picked the biggest films of the year, the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) honored the tiniest films of the year at the 2012 Celldance competition. On Tuesday, December 18, the “Cell Oscars” rolled out the red carpet at the annual ASCB meeting in San Francisco for this year’s best microscopy films.

A microscopic Star Wars epic and a silent film tribute to fruit flies take top honors at the American Society for Cell Biology’s 2012 Celldance competition. Source: ASCB





A panel of five judges chose this year’s top films from a large group of submissions, said chief judge and organizer of the competition Duane Compton of Dartmouth Medical School. The first place award and a top cash prize of $500 went to Stephanie Nowotarski from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, for “Drosophila Dorsal Closure,” a time-lapse video of the embryonic development of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The film, designed with the titles and music of a 1920s silent movie, is not only artistic but features “a spectacular application of video microscopy,” said Compton. “She gets single cell resolution in a whole tissue. It was really well done.”

Second prize went to Lynne Cassimeris, professor of cell biology at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, for “Cell Wars,” a Star Wars parody featuring a light saber-wielding epithelial cell struggling to free itself from an incubator. “It was very, very creative,” said Compton.

Third prize was awarded to Tsutomu Tomita of the University of Tsukuba and Timelapse Vision, Inc., Japan, for “Cancer Dance Movement,” which depicted the energetic dance of cancer cells in culture with rat gastric cells. A special Public Outreach award was bestowed upon “Invisible,” a film by Emmanuel Reynaud from University College, Dublin, and the Irish National Film School, featuring a young boy inspired by plankton to become a superhero and care for those around him.

The annual Celldance competition is held to promote cell biology in the scientific community and the public and highlight the value of video microscopy, a mainstay in cell biology research today. “A big effort for the cell biology community is to start moving this technology into other fields,” such as genomics and cancer biology, said Compton. “It’s going to start finding its way into all sorts of disciplines.”

Click here to see the winning video...