Creeping Fat

With obesity and age, fat cells invade the pancreas, where they become factors in the insulin secretion process relevant to diabetes and in the inflammation that leads to pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. James Minchin, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology made this image of lipid droplets (magenta) surrounded by fibrous collagen (green) in the pancreatic tissue of zebrafish as part of his work on genetic and environmental sources of obesity.

Tie-Dye Fly

It may look like a poster for the Grateful Dead, but these Day-Glo rainbow stripes belong to a fruit fly. Duke biologist Amy Bejsovec is studying the patterns that emerge during a fruit fly's development from egg to adult -- information that may help treat diseases that arise when normal development goes awry. The red stripes stain a protein called Wingless, which helps cells grow and multiply and develop into different cell types. Blue marks cell nuclei.

Silencing the Sentry

A mast cell from the immune system keeps a ready supply of signaling molecules (green) so that it can sound the alarm and call other immune system cells to the fight when it detects a pathogenic invader. But the bacteria Salmonella (red) has been found to move into the mast cell and jam its ability to release these signaling molecules, effectively silencing the alarm and letting the invader spread relatively unimpeded.  A Duke Medicine and Duke-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS) team led by Soman N.

Night Lights

Assistant professor of biochemistry Michael Boyce and his colleagues have developed a new method for detecting one relatively short-lived but crucial cell signaling event: the attachment of a particular sugar, called GlcNAc, onto proteins inside the cell. Two protein samples are labeled through their GlcNAc sugars with green and red fluorescent dyes, and then separated on a gel.

Bad Seeds

A false color scanning electron micrograph shows infectious spores of Cryptococcus fungi (purple) decorating the surface of the specialized structure where they are produced by meiotic cell division. Airborne on wind currents, these spores are small enough to penetrate deeply into human airways to cause an initial lung infection that spreads via the bloodstream to infect the brain.


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