This year's third place for the Nikon Small World in Motion competition went to Dr. Nils Lindström, from the Hohenstein laboratory in The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, for his time-lapse movie showing a transgenic kidney growing in vitro. Lindström's movie shows how an embryonic kidney grows over four days. It was chosen because it effectively illustrates just how quickly a high degree of complexity is formed over a relatively short time.
As part of an NC3Rs-funded project to reduce the number of animals required for complex genetic experiments, Lindström and Hohenstein use time-lapse microscopy to significantly increase the data collected from each embryo studied, a technique that reduces the number of animals needed.
Lindström is a developmental biologist with a strong interest in the generation and use of transgenic mouse models. Using time-lapse makes sense because the laboratory no longer requires multiple embryos at different stages, but can instead follow one embryo through a series of developmental time-points. Moreover, by adding the time dimension to the analysis of organ development, new and important insights can be obtained, as Lindström recently has done for the patterning of the nephron.
Time-lapse microscopy is not limited to kidneys and Lindström has cultured a range of embryonic tissues in vitro. The Hohenstein group has recently moved from the MRC Human Genetics Unit to The Roslin Institute, which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and they are excited by the prospects of developing new collaborations that utilise this imaging system.