School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Art under the microscope

This collection of images showcases the surprising physical beauty of world class pathology testing and research conducted in Western Australia. 

The images below offer an opportunity to see the majesty and wonder of pathology and laboratory medicine.

  1. Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia
  2. Inclusion Body Myositis: The Body attacking its own muscle
  3. NMDA Pos CTL
  4. Dots: Information about our genes
  5. MLPA
  6. FGXE on 3730
  7. Sand on the Brain
  8. A True Redhead?
  9. Staphylococcus
  10. Mutant Bone Eaters
  11. Acknowledgements

Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia

Medium

Immunofluorescent Stains

About this work

Acute promyelocytic leukaemia is a distinct type of leukaemia which can be successfully treated. It is characterised by abnormal (leukaemic) cells with indented nuclei and cytoplasmic inclusions (granules and Auer rods), abnormal proteins and a chromosomal abnormality. The chromosomal abnormality, whilst being the cause of the leukemia, also makes the cells responsive to targeted therapy using specific chemotherapies (retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide).

Artist Name

Wendy Erber

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Inclusion Body Myositis: The Body attacking its own muscle

Medium

Electron-micrograph

About this work

Inclusion Body Myositis is a neuromuscular disorder characterised by the body attacking its own muscle tissue. The diagnosis is made by visualising the characteristic inclusions by electron microscopy. This image however, is of the accompanying destruction of muscle fibres by lymphocytes, and these ones are beautifully lined up under the basement membrane of the muscle fibre getting ready to attack.

Artist name

Lisa Griffiths

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NMDA Pos CTL

Medium

Immunohistochemistry

About this work

N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) is a neurotransmitter that is essential for normal brain function. Patients with the disease NMDA receptor antibody mediated limbic encephalitis present with confusion, psychiatric symptoms and even coma. This is an illustration of how we test for these antibodies in the lab. We test the patients serum or spinal fluid against cells that have been modified to express high levels of the target antigen methyl-D-aspartate receptor. By using a secondary antibody with a fluorescent label we can tell if the serum or spinal fluid has antibodies against NMDA (bright green).

Artist's names

Chris Bundell, Ben McGettigan

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Dots: Information about our genes

Medium

llumina genotyping scan

About this work

This image was taken from a high throughput two-colour llumina genotyping scan.  Each dot represents a bead specific for an area on our genes known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). This scan looks at thousands of SNPs across our genome and can be used to diagnosis many diseases. A green dot represents a homozygous genotype of AA (genes from mother and father are the same), a red dot represents homozygous genotype of BB (genes from parents are the same but different from A), and a yellow dot is a heterozygote genotype of AB (a different gene from mother and father).

Artist's names

Gillian Arscott, John Beilby

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MLPA

Medium

3730 Array

About this work

This image is an array view of Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification of the alpha globin gene using a 3730 DNA Analyser.
MLPA is technique used to detect genetic deletions and insertions, which are causes of cancers such as colon, breast, and ovarian cancer.

Artist's Names

Christopher Newbound, John Beilby

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FGXE on 3730

Medium

3730 Array

About this work

This image is an array view of Fragile X testing using a 3730 DNA Analyser. Each horizontal stripe represents one DNA sample or control.
Fragile X Syndrome is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability and the most common known genetic cause of autism. It is a condition which can have impact on individuals and families in various ways and degrees of severity.

Artist Name

Christopher Newbound, John Beilby

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Sand on the Brain

Medium

Electron-micrograph

About this work

This image is of a psammoma body from a tumour of the membranes surrounding the brain, a meningioma.
A psammoma body is a round collection of calcium that is deposited in the brain and the deposition layers are clearly visible in this image. The name is derived from the Greek word psammos meaning "sand".

Artist Name

Lisa Griffiths

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A True Redhead?

Medium

Transmission and Scanning Electron Microscopy, Polarised Light

About this work

This young Egyptian lady (approximately 3,000 years old) had hair of a striking red-orange colour. Microscopy investigation verified the preservation of the hair structure, and the source of this colour.
There is excellent preservation of the hair, especially of the outer cuticle ‘scales’, under a thick layer of embalming material. The cells of the cortex retain intact cell walls, keratin filaments giving the hair strength and flexibility, and the round granules of the dark eumelanin pigment. The hair shaft is covered by mineral crystals embedded in an organic matrix, the source of its reddish colour.

Artist Name

Pierre Fillion

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Staphylococcus

Medium

Bacterial growth on HBA medium

About this work

Staphylococcus is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria that appear round under the microscope and form in grape-like clusters.
The colonies of Staphylococcus that appear in this image are grown on a special agar plate containing horse blood. You can see the clear areas on the image where the bacteria have broken down the red blood cells.

Artist Name

Liam O’Connor

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Mutant Bone Eaters

Medium

Immunofluorescent markers

About this work

This images features osteoclasts - cells that eat bone - from mice that are unable to synthesise an essential cell membrane component.
The fluorescent dye used in this preparation changes colour from red to green when the mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cell) become damaged or compromised.
In spite of their mutation, these cells appear normal.

Artist Name

Jasreen Kular

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Acknowledgements

These art works were displayed at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Art Gallery during August to October 2011 and at Scitech from November 2011 to January 2012.
This initiative was supported by the Australian Government as part of National Science Week 2011. The exhibition would not have been possible with the generous support of Healthway, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Art Gallery and Scitech.

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