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Calcium oxalate crystals
Castle on a Cloud

Zeiss LSM 880 Microscope with Airyscan

Jessica Saw and Mayandi Sivaguru

Bruce Fouke and Derek Wildman Laboratories

Funded by Mayo Clinic, the Mayo Clinic and University of Illinois Strategic Alliance for Technology-Based Healthcare, and NASA
This mountain ridge in miniature was formed by calcium oxalate crystals found in a thin section of a kidney stone. Most kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate; not all calcium oxalate crystals are made alike. Each type of crystal will incorporate mineral and organic matter at different rates, making kidney stone formation much more complex than scientists originally believed it to be. Studying how these crystals form will help researchers develop new ways to prevent and treat this painful condition.