Picture by Dr. Bram van den Broek
Nikon has recently announced the winner of the annual 'Small World' competition.
The rivalry, now in its 43rd year, is for microphotography images and this year, Dr. Bram van den Broek of The Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) is the winner with his image of a skin cubicle expressing an excessive amount of keratin.
He came across this peculiar but beautiful skin cell while researching the dynamics of keratin filaments with Andriy Volkov, a observer in the Cell Biophysics group led by Professor Kees Jalink.
“There are more than 50 different keratin proteins known in androids. The expression patterns of keratin are often abnormal in skin tumour cells, and it is thus widely used as tumour marker in cancer diagnostics,” imparted Dr. van den Broek. “By studying the ways different proteins like keratin dynamically change within a cell, we can better understand the progression of cancers and other illnesses.”
Keratin is an important structural protein in skin cells. The keratin fibrous network protects the cells against mechanical stress and is complicated in many other cellular functions, like cell migration and adhesion. Studying the structure, dynamics and regulation of the keratin is one of a family of fibrous structural proteins network can reveal info about such processes and potentially identify cell abnormalities. In certain types of cancer, for instance, reduced amounts of specific keratins are indicative for carcinoma aggressiveness.
As part of Nikon’s 100th anniversary celebration, the winners of the 2017 Nikon Small World and Nikon Small World in Suggestion competitions, received a trip to Tokyo, Japan, to visit Nikon’s headquarters and to participate in an exclusive tour of the factory and facilities.