Art meets science with prize for craniofacial development researcher

Wednesday, 22 March, 2017

Art meets science with prize for craniofacial development researcher

This beautifully stained cross-section of a developing embryo was photographed by Dr Sophie Wiszniak, researcher with the Neurovascular Research Laboratory at the Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB) — an alliance between the University of South Australia and SA Pathology.

Dr Wiszniak won the runner-up place with her photograph that she entered in the Scimex Multimedia Hub image competition. Her entry description of the photograph is as follows.

“Here we can see a section of the head of a mouse embryo at 14 days of development (equivalent to 8 weeks in a human embryo). The brain is at the top, eyes at the side, nose in the middle and tongue at the bottom. By staining developing cells in different colours we can track them as they develop into bone cells, muscle cells or blood vessels for example. We are using these images to track how bones and cartilage develop into the skull and jaw, giving us information on how these amazing processes can also go wrong — resulting in disfiguring facial deformities in the new born.”

The CCB led the research that uncovered a new concept that blood vessels control several aspects of craniofacial development and cartilage growth.

Dr Wiszniak said the concept of blood vessels controlling craniofacial development is “paradigm changing”.

“We’ve discovered that blood vessels secrete factors that control cartilage growth and that this is essential for craniofacial development,” Dr Schwarz said.

Image credit: Dr Sophie Wiszniak.

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