‘Cellfie’ of the month: October 2016

How is October here already!?  But the temperatures here in the UK have already started to drop meaning my favourite season of the year has officially begun. Autumn to me is all about going back to basics and enjoying the simple things in life – leaves are falling off trees to grow new ones come spring, lab fashion for me in these months returns to the trusted classic combo of jeans, t-shirts and boots, Sunday evenings are all about drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows tucked up under cosy jumpers and blankets on the sofa watching NFL until as late as I possibly dare.

So, this got me thinking to bring October’s ‘Cellfie of the Month’ post back to basics, and keep it short, sweet and simple.

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None of my experiments would get done if I had no cells. So, the basis of my research is to keep my cells growing happily before I take any sort of image or manipulate them for a heap of different experiments. Before using any fancy techniques, a simple view down the microscope is all I need to see my cells in their beautifully raw and natural state.

Capturing what you see down the microscope lens on a normal day to day basis to share with you guys is a little tricky as microscopes are obviously built for you to use with both eyes! But using a trusty phone camera, I managed to capture a glimpse of a colony down one eye-piece.

Come look down the microscope with me!! ☺️

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In this image you can see just one of my beautiful embryonic stem cell colonies! They form compact, rounded colonies as you can see here and have what we call a cobblestone morphology. Imagine you are walking down the cobbled streets of Ancient Rome, or Coronation Street if you prefer 😜, if you had a circular cutter and cut a perfect circle out of the middle of one of those cobbled streets, this is what we want our embryonic stem cells to ideally look like.

Unfortunately, keeping my cells like this in a culture plate is VERY difficult! They like to stick together in colonies, and if you break the colonies up too much and create single cells – you are going to have a problem with the cells losing their pluripotent state and start differentiating into other cell types – which are usually neurons! As my research is focussing on keeping stem cells as stem cells, this is BAD NEWS for me!

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But, for now, I have lots of beautiful embryonic stem cell colonies growing, but as I am currently stuck at my desk writing my transfer thesis, I’m not using them 😦 Let’s hope they continue to grow like this for when I am back at the lab bench 🙂

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S.x

P.S. I would love to see pictures of any of your cells in their ‘raw beauty’ down the microscope, or if you don’t work with cells whatever the basics for your research are. Add them to the comments 🙂

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