stem cells in their environment

#RecreateScience Response Gallery

24 August 2020

by Jessica Sells, Public Engagement Officer for the CSCRM

In June 2020, the #RecreateScience project was developed as part of the Illuminations collaboration between scientists at the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London, and the Imperial Stem Cell Regenerative Medicine Network and artists from Chisenhale Studios. The team worked together over lockdown to develop a way for people at home to explore their creative and artistic minds, and connect with stem cell research.

Researchers shared their stem cell images to be recreated from home using everyday household objects. We have received some fantastic responses to the initiative. Have a scroll through the gallery below to see the imaginative and creative ways that people have responded to the initiative.

If you would like to submit a response, please see 'RecreateScience' where you can find entry details including previous examples and the latest available research images for download and use. The Illuminations team are planning an online Science-Art exhibition in September where your #RecreateScience images could be featured!

'Organoids' by Ana-Maria Cujba

Original Image

This image by PhD student Ana Maria Cujba is a from a light microscope, and shows organoids grown on top of a thick layer of Matrigel. Matrigel is a nutrient rich gel-like mix that provides the right environment for them to expand and grow. “I grow these structures routinely to obtain large numbers of pancreatic organoids which I then differentiate towards more mature cells that resemble the islet cells found in the human pancreas (that secretes hormones such as insulin). I derive pancreatic organoids from iPSC from both healthy and diabetic individuals, which enables me to better understand how pancreatic islets function in patients with diabetes. In the future, these pancreatic organoids could be used for translational approaches such as drug screening and clinical-based therapies that require large number of cells.”

Response Images

'Pancreatic progenitor organoid' by Ana-Maria Cujba

Original Image

This image by PhD student Ana Maria is from a fluorescence microscope and shows a pancreatic progenitor organoid (a miniaturised and simplified pancreas-like structure in a dish) derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells. I was able to determine that these cells were developing into a pancreatic organoid by staining them for the presence of  specific proteins associated with this process. These human pancreatic progenitor organoids are an unlimited source of cells that can be used to grow more mature and functional insulin-secreting cells. One day, through optimising the efficiency that these cells develop into pancreatic cells, they could be used as a potential cell-based therapy for patients that suffer from diabetes, who lack the ability to produce insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels)”

Response Images

'Pancreatic progenitor organoid 2' by Ana-Maria Cujba

Original Image

This image by PhD student Ana Maria Cujba is a pancreatic progenitor organoid (a miniaturised and simplified pancreas-like structure in a dish) derived from pancreatic progenitors (precursor cells) obtained from human induced pluripotent stem cells. I was able to determine that these cells were developing into a pancreatic organoid by staining them for the presence of  specific proteins associated with this process. These human pancreatic progenitor organoids are an unlimited source of cells that can be used to grow more mature and functional insulin-secreting cells. One day, through optimising the efficiency that these cells develop into pancreatic cells, they could be used as a potential cell-based therapy for patients that suffer from diabetes, who lack the ability to produce insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels).

Response Images

'Neurons and neural progenitor cells' by Gaby Clarke

Original Image

This image by PhD student Gaby Clarke shows neurons and neural progenitor cells differentiated from mouse embryonic stem cells, and grown in a dish. The cells have been stained to show immature neural progenitor cells (red), and more mature motor neurons (green) that grow from them. Motor neurons are a specialised neuron that sends signals from the brain to the muscles to enable muscle movement. Growing these types of neurons in a dish will allow me to investigate what happens to motor neurons during motor neuron disease (MND, ALS) and if this terrible disease can be stopped.

Blue = nucleus, green = neurons, red = progenitor cells

Response Images

'Neural rosette' by Gaby Clarke

Original Image

This image by PhD student Gaby Clarke shows neurons growing out from the middle of a ‘neural rosette’ during differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells into cortical neurons in a dish. Neural rosettes are special structures of cells that form during the development of neurons in a dish.

This rosette has been stained to show expression of the neural progenitor marker nestin (green) and cell nuclei (blue). Neural progenitor cells grow out from the centre of the rosette, and later turn into mature cortical neurons. These cortical neurons can be used to study Alzheimer’s disease.

Response Images

'Neuron noodles' by Ieva Berzanskyte

Original Image

This image by PhD student Ieva Berzanskyte shows a network of developing neurons, derived from embryonic stem cells. As they mature, connectivity within a network is essential and resembles real development in the brain. Network activity could enhance their maturation, thus plating them in such a high density we can start unravelling the questions of how local activity modulates neuron behaviour. Cell essential compartments have been pseudocoloured after processing - nucleus labelled in red, and the cytoplasm in green, which emphasises the unique elongated morphology of neurons.

Response Images

'Neuron' by Ieva Berzanskyte

Original Image

This image by PhD student Ieva Berzanskyte shows a developing motor neuron filled with a dye while measuring its electrophysiological properties. The neuron is slowly acquiring its typical shape, including the formation of axons and dendritic branches, both of which are important in the conductance of electrical signal. Red pseudocolor was applied after image processing. The ability to mature neurons made from stem cells in a dish brings us closer to modelling their true function in the body – to transmit electrical signals.

Response Images

'Mouse’s vermilion region' by Inês Tomás

Original Image

In this image by PhD and Research Assistant Inês Tomás who researches oral cancer, we can see the mouse’s vermilion region. This is the transition area from the interior of mouth (left), to the external part of the lip (right). We want to understand how different the skin is in this border area and how it is affected by inflammation.

Response Image

“I chose this image as I found it fascinating that something as random and obscure as a mouse's lip could look so interesting under a microscope: the shapes are nothing like what would be expected. I used very thin materials such as silk ribbons, leaves, and plastic bag remnants to fit with how minute the image is - a microscopic image of a mouse's lip is certainly quite small.”

- Anonymous

'Blastocyst' by Dr Norah Fogarty

Original Image

This image is by CSCRM Group Leader Dr Norah Fogarty and shows a human embryo 7 days after fertilisation, called a blastocyst. Epiblast cells (red) will give rise to the fetus. Trophectoderm cells (green) will make the placenta.Over 90% of a blastocyst’s cells are trophectoderm, showing the key role this organ plays in development.

Response Images

'Pancreas heart' by Dr Rocio Sancho & Markus Dieffenbacher

Original Image

This image is by CSCRM Group Leader Dr Rocio Sancho & her good friend and colleague Markus Dieffenbacher. The image shows a beautiful heart shaped duct (labelled in red) containing an insulin producing beta cell (labelled in green) in a mouse pancreas histology slide. Ductal cells in the pancreas form a ductal network by which digestive enzymes are released to the intestine. Beta cells are the cells specialised in producing the glucose regulating hormone insulin. This image was the first evidence that modulation of a protein called Fbw7 could change ductal cells to become insulin producing beta cells. The Sancho Lab at CSCRM is now exploring how this finding could be used to find new therapies to treat diabetes.

Response Gallery

'Early mouse embryo' by Sergi Junyent

Original Image

This image by PhD student Sergi Junyent shows an early mouse embryo. Sergi labelled it’s cytoskeleton (tubulin, in red) and nuclei (blue). At this stage, the embryo (morula) is as a ball of cells that can specialize and form all the tissues in the body and the placenta. Sergi uses mouse embryos to investigate how cells communicate and interact to form the adult body; he aims to understand how the communication between cells can help us generate better regenerative therapies in humans.

Response Gallery

'Synthetic embryo structure' by Sergi Junyent

Original Image

This image by PhD student Sergi Junyent shows a synthetic embryo structure formed solely from stem cells cultured in the lab. The colours indicate stem cells with different properties. Sergi  uses these synthetic embryo-structures as models to investigate how stem cells communicate with each other to self-organize. By exploring cell-to-cell communication in the embryo he aims to generate better regenerative therapies.

Response Image

“I attempted to recreate the early mouse embryo. I used coloured paper and strawberry laces to try and show the tubulin. I chose this image to recreate because it fascinated me that the embryonic stem cells can differentiate into anything."

- Anonymous

'Human skin cells' by Victor Negri

Original Image

This image by Post Doc Victor Negri shows different skin cells from a human sample growing in a plate. The skin contains different cell types, and is responsible for protecting our body against external forces. In this photo you can find two types of cells that are crucial for the maintenance of skin: the smaller stem cells (or progenitors) and larger cells that are becoming specialised skin cell types. The larger red cells are the cells that have specialised and cannot divide anymore and located in the most external part of the skin. They are the ones that protects our body against mechanical forces, pathogens and dehydration for example. The smaller cells, are stem cells that are dividing our whole life forming the differentiated cells.  It is very important to be able to differentiate this two cell types when we are working in the lab as we are investigating how a stem cell can become a differentiated keratinocyte (what we call the most abundant cell type in the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin).

Response Image

“I chose this piece of research as it is of the skin, the largest organ in the body and is not given it's full credit, after all, it is a key physical barrier in the face of pathogens. I used paint and washing up liquid and I blew on it with a straw to expand it and put it on a paper. I used these materials as they involve expansion/growth which is what the picture is about, skin tissues growing in a dish."

- Anonymous

Want to submit a Response?

If you would like to submit a response, please see 'RecreateScience' where you can find entry details including previous examples and the latest available research images for download and use. The Illuminations team are planning an online Science-Art exhibition in September 2020 where your #RecreateScience images could be featured!

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