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Image Contest Winners

Tangled up in blue

2018 EM Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

Prof. David Pérez-Morga, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Thermo Fisher Scientific is proud to present our 2018 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner: Prof. David Pérez-Morga. “Tangled up in blue” won David a Canon DSLR Camera kit. Congratulations, David!  

Image Inspiration:

African trypanosomes (15-20 µm long, turquoise), which are responsible for human sleeping sickness in Western and Central Africa, are shown here intertwined with red blood cells (5 µm, red) in a blood capillary (green). The structural and physiological beauty of these protozoa sometimes make us forget the deadly package that they harbor. At the peak of the infection, the parasite density is upwards of several million trypanosomes per milliliter of blood; this image clearly portraits the difficult relationship between the parasite and the human immune system. Studying this relationship has been the subject of my group’s research for many years at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgium. Recently, this led us to engineer therapeutic proteins that kill pathogenic trypanosomes in vivo (see Fontaine et al. Nature Microbiol. 2017; 2:1500-6). Trypanosomes have been engaged in an evolutionary arms race for thousands of years in Africa, thereby shaping our own stronghold of immunological defenses and fundamentally impacting human evolution. Our team at the electron microscopy facility has worked on dozens of subjects over the years, but trypanosomes are still one of our favorites. Daniel Monteyne, Ariel Talavera, Marjorie Vermeersch and I (below, right to left) probably have one of the nicest jobs on earth, looking into infinitely small wonders. We marvel, each time, at how much detail we as a species can now see after starting with just our curiosity and a few stone tools.

 

About the Winner:

David Pérez-Morga is a professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgium, where he heads the laboratory of Molecular Parasitology and the electron microscopy facility at the Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging (CMMI). There, they provide services in TEM, SEM, ET and Cryo-EM. He grew up in Oaxaca, southern Mexico, and did his undergraduate and graduate studies at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico City. (At the ENCB and CINVESTAV, respectively.) He first learned Cryo-EM during his postdoctoral work at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD). When he is not doing science, he enjoys time with his kids, reading, cycling with his teammates of in cyclo veritas and traveling. He resides in the beautiful Brabant-Wallon countryside.

Planet #1

2017 EM Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

Eric Formo, University of Georgia

Thermo Fisher Scientific is proud to present our 2017 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner: Eric V. Formo. “Planet #1” won Eric a Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera kit. Congratulations, Eric! 

Image Inspiration:

Micrometeorites are extraterrestrial dust particles, including fragments of comets and asteroids, that reach the Earth's surface in impressive numbers: ~40,000 tones each year. Samples from traditional collection sites like Antarctica have been well-studied by scientists because they contain important information about the composition and distribution of materials in our solar system. Samples from these sites are also relatively straightforward to isolate from snow and ice. In recent work, we have isolated micrometeorites in more challenging, populated areas, such as building rooftops on the University of Georgia’s (UGA) campus in Athens, Georgia. The positive identification of individual micrometeorites in the 5 to 500 micron size range requires high-resolution imaging and elemental analysis, such as the capabilities available on the Teneo. From a large initial number of candidates, the authentic micrometeorites were sleuthed out based on their morphologies and elemental compositions. In the image, the central microsphere has been false-colored to resemble an inhabited planet, like Earth or Kashyyyk, although in fact the surrounding smaller materials are the actual micrometeorites. Along with the enjoyable activity of imaging the samples, we wondered about their origins in the cosmos.

 

About the Winner:

Eric V. Formo, is the Laboratory Manager of the Electron Microscopy Core Lab at the University of Georgia. Previously, he was a Post Doc at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory primarily focused on the synthesis of inorganic nanostructures and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy. He received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri under the tutelage of Younan Xia with research focused on catalytic nanostructures, along with a Masters in Chemistry from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Chemistry from North Carolina State University. Current interests include nanomaterials in the environment, STEM employment, scientific visualization, and of course electron microscopy. His nonprofessional interests include spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, traveling, baking, towering over people, and making very dry jokes.

Cysteine rose

2016 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

Andrea Jacassi, Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)

Thermo Fisher Scientific is proud to present our 2016 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner: Andrea Jacassi. “Cysteine Rose” won Andrea a Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera kit. Congratulations, Andrea!

Image Inspiration:

Cysteine is a semi-essential proteinogenic amino acid. The thiol side chain in the cysteine is a quite useful feature and often promotes functionalization with a metal surface. My work involves the fabrication of nanostructures exploited to create new biological sensors. The cysteine is a useful chemical component for testing molecular sensors with a well-known chemistry with important biological implications.

About the Winner

My name is Andrea Jacassi, and I am a PhD student at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). I work in the Plasmon Nanotechnology group led by Francesco De Angelis. With a highly sophisticated technique, I create 3D vertical nanostructures for infrared plasmonic enhancement by means of a Thermo Scientific Nanolab 650 DualBeam system. I received my Master’s degree in Astrophysics and Cosmology from the University of Bologna. I’ve studied the extraordinarily large and then decided to learn how the extraordinarily small work, because they are two sides of the same coin. I love my work, but I also enjoy activities like skiing, hiking, yoga, swing dancing, and traveling. I currently live in Genova.

African Trypanosomes

2015 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

David Pérez-Morga, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium

Thermo Fisher Scientific is proud to present our 2015 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner: David Pérez-Morga! His "African Trypanosomes" won David 2 a Canon EOS 70D DSLR Camera with Premium 2STM Lens Kit. Congratulations to David!

Image Inspiration:

African trypanosomes have been the subject of research of our group at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium for several decades now. The picture immediately suggests the graceful movement of the parasite, showing its streamlined shape exquisitely adapted for its movement in the viscous environment of the blood. The structural and physiological beauty of these protozoa makes us sometimes forget the deadly package that it harbors. Engaged in an arms race for thousands of years in Africa, trypanosomes contributed to shape our own stronghold of immunological defenses and so impacted human evolution. Our team at the electron microscopy facility has worked on dozens of subjects for the past years, but still trypanosomes are one of our favorites. Daniel Monteyne, Marjorie Vermeersch, and I (pictured from right to left) hold probably one of the nicest jobs: looking into the infinitely small wonders, marveling each time at how deeply we can see after starting with curiosity and a few stone tools.

About the Winner

David Pérez-Morga is a professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgium, where he heads the laboratory of Molecular Parasitology and the Electron Microscopy facility of the Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging (CMMI). David grew up in Oaxaca, southern Mexico, and completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico City, at the ENCB and CINVESTAV, respectively. During his postdoctoral work at Johns Hopkins University, he learned electron microscopy. When not doing science, David enjoys spending time with his kids, reading, and traveling. He resides in the beautiful Brabant-Wallon countryside.

Expanded Vermiculite

This SEM image shows exfoliated vermiculite, which is a hydrated magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate. The majority of applications call for vermiculite in its exfoliated form, created when the flakes are heated rapidly at a temperature of 900° C or higher. The water flashes into steam, and the flakes expand into accordion-like particles. 

2014 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

Francisco Rangel, National Institute of Technology- INT / MCTI, Brazil

Thermo Fisher Scientific is proud to present our 2014 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner: Francisco Rangel! His "Expanded Vermiculite" won Francisco 2 round-trip tickets to either London or Washington DC, a 3-night hotel stay, a $300 travel stipend, and 2 tickets to see Mysteries of the Unseen World.

Image Inspiration:

The idea to post the image to the contest came from a research colleague, Marcelo Ferreira de Oliveira Leão, Ph.D., of Polymeric Materials Laboratory (LAMAP), who I consider responsible for this award. He works with vermiculite as a constituent of their nanocomposites in INT's research projects.

Vermiculite is a hydrated magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate. The majority of applications call for vermiculite in its exfoliated form, performed when the flakes are heated rapidly at a temperature of 900° C or higher. The water flashes into steam, and the flakes expand into accordion-like particles. The color, which can range from black and various shades of brown to yellow for the raw flakes, changes to gold or bronze. (The false color we obtained for the picture was due to mixing secondary electrons and backscattered electrons). Vermiculite is a very versatile mineral because of its thermal stability and inertness. It is clean to handle, odorless, and mold-resistant. It is also sterile due to the high temperature to which it is subjected in production. In lightweight plaster and concrete, vermiculite provides good thermal insulation. Also, vermiculite can absorb such liquids as fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides, which can then be transported as free-flowing solids.

About the Winner

Francisco Rangel was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He attended the Technical School Pandiá Calógeras in Volta Redonda, where he studied to be a mechanical technician. He is an expert in scanning electron microscopy, has experience in elemental analysis by EDS (Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy) and WDS (Wavelength Dispersive Spectroscopy), ESEM (Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope), and AFM (Atomic Force Microscope). His professional experience was gained working in renowned research centers linked to the steel industry, universities, and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI). Since 1996, Francisco has always worked in laboratories focused on multidisciplinary research, where he gained experience working with a wide variety of materials in SEM, including metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and organics. Francisco currently works at the National Institute of Technology-INT / MCTI, in the Characterization Center for Nanotechnology Materials and Catalysis (CENANO), where he provides technical support to researchers and technologists of institutes and universities that have projects in partnership with the INT. With an advanced analytical capacity available to its customers, CENANO utilizes three Thermo Scientific microscopes: a QUANTA 450 FEG Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), an Inspect 50s Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and (currently being installed) a Tecnai Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), making this lab one of the most up-to-date in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

Francisco has 4 children (2 sons and 2 daughters). His hobbies are jazz, wine, beer, movies, and books.

Acacia Dealbata Flower

In this SEM image we can see an Acacia dealbata (yellow mimosa) flower about to open. The HFW is 4.35 mm. The flower was removed from the tree and put into the microscope in a fresh state. The image was taken as soon as possible to avoid high structure damage. False color applied by Photoshop.

2013 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

Marcos Rosado, Electron Microscopy Division of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), Spain

Thermo Fisher Scientific is proud to announce that Marcos Rosado has been awarded the grand prize in the 2013 Image Contest for his entry "Acacia Dealbata Flower".

Image Inspiration:

"I was in the garden of my parents' house admiring the Acacia Dealbata. I noticed a little ball hanging from a branch of the tree which was going to be a flower in a few days.  It seemed to have some beautiful yellow spots into it, so I decided to take it and have a look at it in the microscope. What I discovered is that it, as I supposed, was an Acacia Dealbata flower about to open. It was really beautiful so I decided to take an image which I sent to the contest.

Curiosity is what motivates me to discover specimen that are impossible to see with the naked eye. This same curiosity is what makes me to get the best possible result for the for the institute in the field of nanotechnology."

About the Winner

Marcos Rosado is an electron microscopy and imaging specialist for the Electron Microscopy Division of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2). He prepares multiple types of samples for analysis and characterization in the Thermo Scientific Quanta 650 FEG ESEM, Magellan 400L XHRSEM, and  Tecnai G2 F20. Marcos received  his Master's degree in Science and Engineering of Materials from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). When not in the lab, Marcos enjoys sports, travel, culture, and learning about new technology. He currently resides in Barcelona, Spain

Spider Skin

Texture of the skin of a spider, with a hair root and pollen grains remains adhered to the skin

2012 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

María Carbajo, University of Extremadura, Spain

Thermo Fisher Scientific is proud to announce that María Carbajo of the Electron Microscopy Unit in the Research Support Services of the University of Extremadura has been awarded the grand prize in the 2012 Owner Image Contest for her entry "Spider Skin".  

About the Winner

María Carbajo was born in Badajoz (Extremadura) in 1979. In 2002 she finished her studies in Chemical Engineering at the University of Extremadura, and four years later she defended her doctoral thesis "Catalytic and Photocatalytic Ozonation of Water's Contaminants". She worked as a teacher for two years at the same University in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Physical Chemistry. In September 2010, she began working as a technician responsible for the Electron Microscopy Unit in the Research Support Services of the University of Extremadura (SAIUEx). María is responsible for sample preparation and handling of Scanning Electron Microscope QUANTA 3D FEG and Transmission Electron Microscope TECNAI G2 20 TWIN. From SAIUEx, María provides service to both researchers and companies in different fields, such as material science, biomedical, chemical and biological ones.

María has a 2 year old son, and her hobbies are photography, travel, and spending as much time as possible with her little one.

Microcanyon

A micro-crack in steel after bending tests

2011 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

Martina Dienstleder, Institute for Electron Microscopy at the Graz University of Technology, Austria

Thermo Fisher Scientific is proud to announce that Martina Dienstleder of the Institute for Electron Microscopy at the Graz University of Technology has been awarded the grand prize in the 2011 Owner Image Contest for her entry "Microcanyon". The image was selected by our experts from the three monthly finalists, including "Alveoli" by Oliver Meckes and "Lamnacarus Ornatus" by Angelika Reichmann.  

Overall, the entries were judged on their aesthetic appeal, application and scientific relevance, and overall creativity.  Martina's entry shows a micro-crack in steel after bending tests, and the resulting image inspired her to colorize the micrograph, creating an amazing likeness of a canyon. The image was colorized by colleague Manuel Paller. Read more about Martina below.

 

About the Winner

Martina Dienstleder was born in Graz in 1976. In 1993 she joined the Institute for Electron Microscopy at the Graz University of Technology to start her training as a chemical laboratory assistant. Since 1997 she has a fixed position with the laboratory staff at Graz Centre for Electron Microscopy, where she has specialized in mechanical, chemical and physical preparation of samples for Scanning Electron Microscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy. Apart from sample preparation she has also been trained as a TEM operator. After installation of the Thermo Scientific Nova 200 NanoLab at the FELMI-ZFE in 2003 she focused on sample preparation and analysis with the Focused Ion Beam unit and on advancement of various TEM sample preparation methods. Her major field of activity is the fabrication of TEM samples for industry customers and scientific investigations (slogan: "the more difficult the better").

Martina is the mother of a twelve year old son, and is a keen dog fancier and a passionate motorcyclist. Martina likes to travel the world whenever her challenging position leaves her enough time for it. Martina's grand prize, a Nikon D7000 camera kit, will undoubtedly be put to good use in her travels.

Platinum Nanorods on Silicon

Array of freestanding Pt nanorods on silicon fabricated by electron beam induced deposition from the gas phase

2010 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

Harald Plank, Institute for Electron Microscopy at the Graz University of Technology, Austria

Thermo Fisher Scientific is proud to announce that Harald Plank of the Institute for Electron Microscopy at the Graz University of Technology has been awarded the grand prize in the 2010 Owner Image Contest for his entry "Platinum Nanorods on Silicon".

The image shows an array of freestanding Pt nanorods on silicon fabricated by electron beam induced deposition from the gas phase The individual rods reveal a base diameter of about 80 nm and a height of 1 µm. The wavy appearance was actually an artifact but too nice to be ignored. Image was post-colorized by Margit Wallner (FELMI).

"Thermo Scientific instrument we are mainly using is a NOVA 200 Dual Beam microscope which offers manifold possibilities and a high flexibility for additional custom made extensions. Similar experiments without such instrument would be partly impossible or require much higher efforts which make "Nanolab Workstations" an essential part of modern science and technology."