Cross-posted from upaa.org[by Jeff Fitlow]
Tiny Object. Big Project.
About a month ago, one of our science writers came to me and asked if I would be interested in helping get a shot that could potentially go on the cover of Science, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I immediately said, “yes.” Science is one of the world’s top academic journals and has been around since 1880. Landing the cover of such a prestigious publication would be an honor.
Our writer put me in touch with Rice University bioengineer Jordan Miller and his research assistant, Daniel Sazer. The energy and excitement these two guys had was contagious. I’m not usually into macro photography, but fed by their enthusiasm, I really wanted to make it happen. Science gave us about 10 days to capture the cover shot or they would have to go with something else.
Why the interest from Science? I might be over simplifying but basically the researchers used a bioprinter to print an extremely entangled vascular network that mimics the body’s natural passageways for blood, air, lymph and other vital fluids. It is a huge biomedical breakthrough that will lead the way to printing replacement organs from a patient’s own cells. A ready supply of functional organs could one day be deployed to treat millions of patients worldwide. Pretty amazing — but VERY small — stuff.