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First Impressions
First Impressions

Zeiss LSM 710 Confocal Microscope

Jee-Wei Emily Chen

Brendan Harley Laboratory

Funded by the NIH

Many processes within the body are changed by the presence of cancer. These images show the response of microglia, immune defense cells in the brain, to cancer cells. When microglia encounter glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most aggressive brain cancers, they shift from a relaxed, elongated shape to a rounded, ready-for-combat conformation.

These images echo the work of Anna Atkins, a British botanist and photographer who used a contact printing technique called cyanotyping to capture the form of plants and algae. Emily Chen’s work similarly seeks to explore biological function, in this case the immune response to brain cancer, by capturing and comparing biological forms.