Watch: Dazzling time-lapse of developing neurons wins Nikon's annual video contest

A stunning, up-close time-lapse of developing neurons in a chick embryo is this year’s first place winner of the annual Nikon Small World in Motion Video Competition.

The 13th annual video competition is a spinoff of the annual Nikon Small World photo contest, which was founded in 1974 to recognize excellence in microphotography – or life under the microscope. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the popular photography competition.

Winners of the 2023 Small World photo contest will be announced Oct. 17. Entries are judged on the basis of originality, informational content, technical proficiency and visual impact.

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First place went to Dr. Alexandre Dumoulin for his 48-hour time-lapse video of developing neurons connecting to the opposite side of the central nervous system in a chick embryo, contest organizers said.


GIF of Nikon Small World in Motion Video Contest first place winner: Dr. Alexandre Dumoulin for his 48 hour time lapse video of developing neurons connecting to the opposite side of the central nervoussystem in a chickembryo (Nikon Small World in Mot

Developed at the University of Zurich, Dumoulin's video "plays a significant role in understanding the potential deviations in neurodevelopmental disorders that occur in the central nervous system, such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia."

To capture the video, Dumoulin used a new imaging method to visualize the live transfer of information from cells.

"The biggest challenge was to discover a feasible method to access these neurons and capture images over an extended period of time," said Dumoulin. "A combination of precise dissection skills and adapted microscopy techniques proved to be the key."

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Fabian J. Weston with Protist Lab Films won second place for his video of blood flow in the tail fin of a small fish. To capture the video, Weston worked with a live organism on a 1 mm deep slide and administered filtered sample water with oxygen throughout the filming process.

Third place was awarded to Nell Saunders with the Institut Pasteur for her video of human cells fusing and dying upon infection by SARS-CoV-2.

See the full list of winners on the Nikon Small World website