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SciShots: An assortment of heart cells

Scientists are capturing the wide visual diversity of human cells

Featuring Rachel Tompa


1 min read

Researchers at the Allen Institute for Cell Science are working to understand the array of normal diversity in our own cells. They use human heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, derived in the lab from human stem cells (specifically known as human induced pluripotent stem cells, or hIPSCs) to study some of this diversity as cells change state through a process known as differentiation. This image, taken by researchers on the Allen Institute for Cell Science’s Assay Development Team, shows two of the many different structures inside cardiomyocytes: the nucleus, in turquoise, which houses all the cells’ chromosomes; and the sarcomeres, in white, organized structures that are responsible for the muscle contractions that make your heart beat.

About the author: Rachel Tompa

Rachel Tompa is a science and health writer and editor. A former molecular biologist, she’s been telling science stories since 2007 and has covered the gamut of science topics, including the microbiome, the human brain, pregnancy, evolution, science policy and infectious disease. As Senior Editor at the Allen Institute, Rachel writes stories and creates podcast episodes covering all the Institute’s scientific divisions.

Get in touch at [email protected].