Artifact Photobomb!

Originally posted 2014/11/14

We use a lot of different microscopes in our research. In later posts, we’ll introduce our microscopes and how we use them in our experiments. As anyone who spends time on the Internet knows, in addition to being informative, microscope images can also be amazingly beautiful. All of the images that we post on our lab site are taken using our own microscopes, and we’ll continue to pass on and explain the especially striking ones.

As with any photographer, we don’t always get the shot we’re look looking for.

The nemesis of any microscopist is the dreaded “Artifact”; a speck of dust, blob junk, fold or tear in the tissue section, or some other feature that’s only there because something went wrong with preparing the sample. We work hard to minimize artifacts and control for them in our experiments so that they don’t interfere with our interpretation of the results.

So it's no surprise that we don't normally like artifacts, but sometimes they can provide some entertainment. Case in point:

  (photo credit Rajiv Jain)

(photo credit Rajiv Jain)

Cells in culture sometimes behave oddly and can have more than one nuclei (in orange here). These particular nuclei look terribly offended that an artifact (bright glowing orange spot - it's not supposed to be there) has ruined their selfie.