1st Prize winner: Cristiano Lucci, School of Life Science, University of Nottingham.
After completing my MSc degree at the University of Camerino (Italy), I moved to the University of Nottingham where I was awarded a Vice-Chancellor‘s scholarship for Research Excellence. This allowed me to start my PhD in the lab of Dr Federico Dajas-Bailador at the School of Life Sciences. As part of the general research interests of the lab, my project focused on the role of microRNAs in the development and maintenance of neuronal connectivity. In particular my work aims to shed light on those molecular mechanisms that can control neuronal polarity via microRNA function.
The understanding of axonal mechanisms in neuron connectivity is a crucial process in the investigation of impaired network integration capacity in the brain. Indeed, the loss of connectivity is concomitant with the observation that axons are lost before cells body in many neurodegenerative diseases. To study these mechanisms, we use microfluidic chambers, which allow the compartmentalisation and fluidic isolation of axons from the cell bodies, providing an invaluable tool for the study of the local phenomena that can regulate neuronal development and degeneration.
The image shows primary cortical neurons cultured in these compartmentalised microfluidic chambers. The labelling is for acetylated tubulin in red (identifying all axons), and green for the cell permeable dye calcein, which is only applied on the axonal side of the chambers (top half) and allows the identification of those neuronal cell bodies (bottom half) that have extended axons to the other side of the microfluidic device. Blue staining indicates nuclei labelled with DAPI. The image was taken using a fluorescent microscope at the SLIM facility in the School of Life Sciences.
2nd Prize Winner: Anneliese Norris, School of Biology, University of St Andrews.
After my degree in Human Genetics, I completed my MSc by research at the University of Edinburgh in Developmental Cell Biology and Neuroscience, working in both mouse and zebrafish. I then carried on working (as a research assistant) in the laboratory of Prof Catherina G. Becker, focussing on motor neuron regeneration in zebrafish. Following this I moved to King’s College London to do my PhD in Prof Andrea Streit’s laboratory working on optic vesicle development in the chick. I am now a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dr Marcus Bischoff at the University of St. Andrews, studying morphogenesis of the Drosophila abdomen.
This confocal image shows a section through the embryonic mouse telencephalon at E18.5 showing the L1 expressing corpus callosum (labelled orange) and cells of cortical origin labelled with GFP (green). Section is counterstained with DAPI (blue). This image was taken whilst working with Dr James Clegg at the University of Edinburgh.
3rd Prize Winners: Mohammad Moffateh, MRC LMB, Cambridge and Alan Prescott, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee.
After graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Biomedical Science from King’s College London, I was awarded an LMB Cambridge Scholarship for international students to study my PhD under Dr Simon Bullock supervision.
My PhD project focuses on understanding biological processes involved in transportation and localization of messenger RNAs in the nervous system using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system.
Beautifully repeated segments of Drosophila melanogaster embryonic nervous system, stage 16/17, ventral view. Stained for Futsch (green, segmented sensory neurons and dispersed cell bodies in the ventral nerve cord) and Ank2-L (magenta, segmented ventral nerve cord and a subset of sensory neurons). Imaged with a Zeiss LSM780 confocal microscope.
I studied the Biology of Man and his Environment as an undergraduate and then did a PhD characterising the microtubule cytoskeleton of the exocrine pancreas at Aston University. I then worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Keele and University of East Anglia before moving to Dundee where I am a Senior Lecturer specialising in many aspects of cell biology particularly those studied by confocal and electron microscopy.
Confocal image of a transverse section of the rectus muscle of the eye taken from the mito-QC mouse (McWilliams et al., (2016) JCB, 214(3)). Mitochondria express eGFP and mCherry but in lysosomes the eGFP, green fluorescence is quenched. Bright red dots are mitolysosomes. Nuclei are DAPI blue.