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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody!

To get you in the festive spirit, what better than some fun science-related Christmas photos. Here are a couple designed by Agnes. They're both made up of lots of colourful pictures of bone marrow cells, imaged using a machine called an 'ImageStream Cytometer'.

First comes Christmas star:

Each of the tiny colourful spots you can see is a single cell. The machine works by squeezing the cells very quickly down a tiny tube and photgraphing each one as it passes. Incredibly, it can take images at >1000 cells every second!!

Next is a Christmas tree. The colours are the result of tagging the cells with a fluorescent chemical that glows a certain colour when you illuminate it with a laser of another, different colour. By tagging cells in this way we can work out what type of cell it is. In this picture we have a mixture of bone stem cells and white blood cells. These cells also scatter light - some more than others because they've got bits in them. The cells that do this the most in the blood are called granulocytes, because they're full of granules.

Thanks to Dominic and Caroline at Dstl for their very kind help with producing these images and letting us use the machine!

These images won Agnieszka the Biomedical Imaging Unit's Christmas photo competition, and will be featured on their 2016 calendar. Well done Agnes!!!! She gets a hundred quid voucher for John Lewis. I still haven't received my Christmas present from her though.......

It also completes a 4 year hegemony of the Bone and Joint Group winning this prize - David Gothard, alumnus of the lab won this competition 3 years on the trot. Now we have a new pretender .....

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