Chick Embryo Takes Top Prize in First Year of Nikon Small World in Motion Competition

New Category for Annual Competition Honors Top Time-Lapse Photography Through a Microscope

MELVILLE, N.Y., Feb. 7, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nikon Instruments Inc. is pleased to announce the first ever winners of the Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition. Top honors go to Anna Franz of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford and her video of a chick ink injection into blood vessels. This was Franz's first time using this particular technique, which she not only mastered on the first take but captured on video for the winning entry.

In response to the exciting new trend in digital photomicrography of recording movies or digital time-lapse photography through the microscope, Nikon Small World in Motion was created as a sister competition under the Nikon Small World brand. Movies are judged on the merit of being visually outstanding as well as depicting the intersection of science and art.

The winning video showcases the delicate balance between difficult scientific technique and exquisite artistic quality that Nikon Small World is renowned for showcasing. To create her image, Franz cut a window into an egg to expose the 72-hour-old chick embryo and carefully injected ink into its artery under a stereo microscope to visualize the specimen's blood system. "This movie not only demonstrates the power of the heart and the complexity of vasculature of the chick embryo, but also reflects the beauty of nature's design," said Franz.

Dominik Paquet takes second place with a time-lapse movie showing the movement of mitochondria in sensory neurons in the tail of a zebra fish larva. The movie was taken while Paquet studied molecular and cellular pathologies in Alzheimer's disease and Frontotemporal Dementia at the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Munich, Germany. He and his team studied images like the one submitted to understand how impairments of the transport of cellular components in living animal models cause problems to nerve cells. Paquet believes his video is the first-ever example of live imaging of mitochondrial transport in nerve cells in an intact, unmodified vertebrate animal.

Third place is captured by Dr. Ralf Wagner and his video of a waterflea-daphnia playing with a volvox, a type of green algae. A chemist by profession, Dr. Wagner found the specimen for his slide in his garden pond. Dr. Wagner says the whimsical image doesn't reflect deep science as much as it depicts an extraordinary situation of the daphnia interacting with its environment. His hope is that by reminding viewers of the video how much fun science can be, he might inspire others to take up its study.

"We receive spectacular images for the Nikon Small World Competition, and it is with great excitement that we expand the competition to accommodate moving images and time-lapse photography," said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments. "Anna Franz sets a high standard for applying difficult scientific technique to create a truly captivating image. We look forward to the dynamic images the participants of Small World in Motion will produce in the future."

The new category awarded three winners and recognized the top 14 entries (some of which were winners of the regular Small World competition) from the more than 200 entries received from countries around the world. The judges were Kurt Thorn, adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco and Director of the Nikon Imagine Center and MichaelW. Davidson, Director of the Optical and Magneto-Optical Imaging Center at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University.

For additional information, please visit, or follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @NikonSmallWorld.


The Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography. Participants may submit their images in traditional 35mm format, or upload digital images directly at For additional information, contact Nikon Small World, Nikon Instruments Inc., 1300 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, NY 11747, USA or phone (631) 547-4200.


Nikon Instruments, Inc. is a world leader in the development and manufacture of optical and digital imaging technology for biomedical applications. Now in its 93rd year, Nikon provides complete optical systems that offer optimal versatility, performance and productivity. Cutting-edge instruments include microscopes, digital imaging products and software. Nikon Instruments is the microscopy and instrumentation arm of Nikon Inc., the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology. For more information, visit Product-related inquiries may be directed to Nikon Instruments at 800-52-NIKON.

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