January 7, 2021, Peabody, Mass. - JEOL USA awarded two Grand Prizes to winners of its 2020 Electron Microscopy Image Contest, and kicked off its 2021 Image Contest at the beginning of the new year. The annual contest showcases JEOL microscope users’ artistically or esthetically pleasing images with good composition, sharp focus, and technical competency, especially in the use of accelerating voltage.
The Grand Prize Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) Image award was given to Lita Duraine, a certified electron microscopist at Baylor College of Medicine in Baylor, Texas. “The Screamer 2020” resembles a screaming cartoon character (possibly a good depiction of how many felt about 2020), but is actually a detailed, high magnification image showing firing between boutons in a Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) sample. It was imaged on the JEOL JEM-1400Plus TEM as part of a bouton study on muscle weakness. Lita explains that “Manipulating Drosophila melanogaster is a bit challenging from an electron microscopy point of view, but is so indispensable for genomic research in Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s, and other debilitating diseases.” The common fruit fly serves as a model organism for studying genetics and other fields of research.
The Grand Prize Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Image award was given to Flávio Loureiro, an engineer working in the laboratories of a Vallourec Group’s plant located in Brazil. His image “Seeds in the Cradle” is both artistic and detailed, showing Pollen grains over the stigma of an aster flower (Symphyotrichum Tradescantii). Vallourec is a steel mill that produces seamless pipes, and the company uses the JSM-6360 SEM for quality control and imaging of metallic materials. Loureiro says, “In the case of this particular image, my purpose was really just because of my curiosity, and because I really love to work with SEM images! I would give a brief lecture on SEM for some colleagues; I wanted to obtain an image that could reflect the capabilities of the instrument, revealing how beautiful and surprising can be the nature in its details, just nearby us. So, I caught this very simple flower that was in the lab’s garden, and started to analyze it on the SEM! In fact, I could say that the main drive for this image was just curiosity and beauty.”
Both image contest winners have participated and won previously in JEOL’s annual contest. The JEOL Image Contest began in 2014 and all entries and winning images are available for viewing at https://www.jeolusa.com/NEWS-EVENTS/JEOL-USA-Image-Contest-Entries-Winners.