Solving the mysteries of bioscience
We are an independent nonprofit bioscience research institute aimed at unlocking the mysteries of human biology through foundational science.
Foundational Science Fuels Breakthroughs
We are leaders in large-scale research that transforms our understanding of human health and disease and shapes how science is conducted worldwide.
Inspiring Next-Generation Scientists
To us, open science extends to inspiring the next generation of scientists by supporting access to science resources, research, and experiences.
Graphics software for microscope imagery lights up the endoplasmic reticulum
Featuring Rachel Tompa
1 min read
The insides of your cells are kind of a mess. Far from the neatly packaged bubble-like structures your high school biology textbook illustrations showed, cellular structures — also known as organelles — are often branching, jumbled, and crowded together. Andrew Moore, Ph.D., a biologist at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus, is studying one of these organelles, shown in this image, known as the endoplasmic reticulum or ER. This large, multi-folded structure surrounds the cell’s nucleus (the storage center for your chromosomes in each cell) and is the site of protein production and folding. Moore wants to understand how the ER gets and keeps its complicated shape, and how it interacts with the scaffolding structures of the cell. To create this image that shows the details of the ER’s outer membrane, Moore used a graphics tool built by researchers at the Allen Institute for Cell Science known as AGAVE. The tool borrows techniques from animation studios to create realistic light sources and shadows in a flat image, making it look as realistic and 3D as possible.
Microscopic viewpoints, computer-generated models, intricate tracings and more — see a new side of science with SciShots.
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].