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2012 GE Healthcare Cell Imaging Contest Winners

Andrew S. Wiecek

This year’s annual GE Healthcare Cell Imaging Contest did not disappoint with three memorable cell images from international researchers. See the winning images now...

For one weekend in April, cell biology will get the red-carpet treatment when the three winning images from GE Healthcare’s Cell Imaging Contest are displayed on New York’s Times Square JumboTron.

Jane Stout from the Indiana University won the high- and super-resolution microscopy category in GE Healthcare's 2012 Cell Imaging Contest with this image of a diving mammalian cell. Source: GE Healthcare

“When most people think of Times Square, they think of the sexy hunk that’s going to be on the big screen or Tina Fey. The big screen is usually reserved for Hollywood and to put science in Hollywood terms, boy, that’s what we need right now,” said Jane Stout, a research associate at Indiana University (IU) who submitted one of the winning images.

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GE Healthcare's annual Cell Imaging Contest produces a captivating set of biological images, and this year's contest did not disappoint. See all the winning images here...

In the IU laboratory of biochemistry and molecular biology professor Claire Walczak, Stout studies the process of cell division known as mitosis. To capture her winning image, Stout used a wide-field deconvolution microscopy platform known as OMX, which allows scientists to image biological samples beyond the diffraction limit of conventional light microscopy (1).

For Walczak and Stout, this provides them with a view of mitosis in unprecedented resolution. The winning image of a dividing mammalian cell is a perfect example, said Walczak, as it clearly depicts the microtubules, kinetochores, and DNA.

“The day she took it, I just said to myself, ‘Oh my god, this is just beautiful’,” said Walczak. “I’ve looked at thousands and thousands of images, but when you find one that just captures what happens in the biology, even though it’s a static image, I can see those chromosomes moving.”

And the other winning images taken by Anushree Balachandran from Australia and Markus Posch from the UK are also quite captivating. Balachandran’s image captured a Huntington's stem cell, while Markus’ image captured a prometaphase human cervical carcinoma HeLa cell.

The winners were decided by popular vote after five contest judges, including BioTechniques editor Kristie Nybo, Ph.D., narrowed the over 100 submissions down to 30 finalists. During the voting period, over 15,000 votes were cast in two categories: microscopy and high-content analysis.

“It’s amazing all of the attention that it’s getting. I was just commenting on the number of people on Facebook congratulating me. Even my brother was saying congratulations who has no idea, most of my family has no idea what I do,” said Stout.

The winning images will be on display on the NBC Universal big screen in Times Square April 19-21, 2013.


1. Dobbie, I. M., E. King, R. M. Parton, P. M. Carlton, J. W. Sedat, J. R. Swedlow, and I. Davis. 2011. OMX: A new platform for multimodal, multichannel Wide-Field imaging. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 2011(8):pdb.top121+.

Keywords:  microscopy