Karl Lechtreck 2nd place winner for video entry at ASCB Celldance

Research

Cell Dance Poster - ASCBKarl F. Lechtreck, Ph.D., research assistant professor of cell biology shared second place in the American Society for Cell Biology’s (ASCB) annual Celldance, a video and photo contest that focuses on “the art that underlies the work cell biologists do every day”. Celldance celebrates the unexpected and unique beauty and art found under the microscope by cell biologists and seeks to “open the eyes of the world to the best video and still images that illuminate the wonders of cell biology." 

Karl F. Lechtreck, Ph.D. and his colleague George B. Witman, PhD, the George F. Booth Chair in the Basic Sciences and professor of cell biology, are studying the motion of cilia. The researchers collaborated with Michael Sanderson, Ph.D. professor of physiology, who has built a differential interference contrast (DIC) microscope capable of filming at 200 frames per second. When slowed to 10 frames per second, the videos show the cilia bending and waving in a beautifully coordinated slow-motion dance.

Lechtreck’s award-winning video will be archived in an online public library being built by the ASCB to preserve interesting videos and photos submitted by cell biologists. Celldance itself was “dreamed up” by Greenfield “Kip” Sluder, Ph.D., professor of cell biology, as a way to help generate interest and accumulate material for the library. “The library was created as a resource for teaching and public outreach,” Dr. Sluder said. “For example, if you’re teaching a lecture on cell division and you want some actual footage, you could download something useful and eye catching from the library."

Initially interest was slow to build. In 2004, Sluder suggested the ASCB run a contest, complete with prize money and lots of promotional hype among the cell biology community and was given the green light to create and oversee the contest. This year there was a crowd of more than 300 people at the ceremony where prizes were awarded for first, second and third place, as well as honorable mention.

This year marked the end of Sluder’s term as contest director and head judge. His Celldance legacy remains captured in the ASCB image library which will continue to grow with each contest. 

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