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.
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.
Taking a lesson from the way human skin can wrinkle, assistant professor Xuanhe Zhao of mechanical engineering and materials science has developed a nanofilm that is spread on a pre-stretched surface and then allowed to relax, creating a microscopic landscape with a precise pattern of high peaks and low valleys. The method produces large-area surface patterns faster, cheaper and with more precision than existing approaches.
Riding the expansion of mosquito-borne diseases from the tropics as temperatures rise across the globe, the West Nile Virus made its American landfall in New York about 15 years ago. Since then, it has spread throughout the United States and Canada, killing more than 1,600 and sickening nearly 40,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cells of human heart muscle grown by the Duke-NUS Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Programme in Singapore mark a milestone in the possible use of human embryonic stem cells for regenerative medicine. Pluripotent human embryonic stem cells were grown on a matrix of human proteins called laminin that surround the cells in the embryo.
Cathrine Hoyo’s first job out of university was as a statistician for health surveillance in her native Zimbabwe. But after a few years of “counting numbers of sick people,” she decided to learn more so she could do more.
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.
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.
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.