Gland of Opportunity: Cell Biology Branches Out

Look

This image, submitted by undergraduate researcher Daphne Superville of the Gupta Laboratory, shows mammary glands grown in the laboratory from healthy patient cells implanted in a three-dimensional matrix.

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Daphne Superville, Ethan Sokol, Daniel Miller
Gupta Laboratory, MIT Koch Institute and Whitehead Institute

Every scientific model has its strengths and weaknesses. The structures seen here are mammary glands grown in the laboratory from healthy patient cells implanted in a three-dimensional matrix. Notice how the outer ductal structure (green) stems from inner progenitor cells (red) at the root of each branch.

This striking resemblance to mammary glands observed in the human body offers scientists a robust in vitro model for studying how living organs develop. A controlled system like this presents could replace traditional cell culture models currently used in biology labs.

Watch

Daphne Superville shares the story behind "Gland of Opportunity."

You can also watch her presentation from the 2015 Image Awards exhibition opening event on March 10, 2015 or the  teaser video on the Koch Institute's Facebook page.