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Nature's Renoir


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rajib schubert
Postdoctoral scholar, BBE

Viruses leave their splashes of color on different cells in a very colorful and vibrant manner reminiscent of the style of the French artist Pierre Renoir. The image shows iPSCs generated from human fibroblasts using virus stamping. I stamped individual fibroblast cells with lenti viruses encoding a cocktail of transcription factors and fluorophores. The idea was to color code and track each cell morphologically as it is differentiating into the desired cell type ( in our case it was neurons). One can even see the neurties sprouting from the yellow cells. The goal with the stamping approach was to get a reliable method to reprograming cells. The image was acquired 5 days after stamping on live cells using a Leica sp8, 63x water 1.2 N.A objective. 7 different laser lines were used for the scanning. The end output was some thing aesthetically beautiful but also very informative on how to reprogram cells in a controlled manner. Additionally the technique is being used in Caltech and by labs around the world to advance their own science.


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