This tropical scene, reminiscent of a postcard from Key West, is actually a petri dish containing an artistic arrangement of genetically engineered bacteria. The image showcases eight of the fluorescent proteins created in the laboratory of Roger Y. Tsien, a cell biologist at the University of California, San Diego. Tsien, along with Osamu Shimomura of the Marine Biology Laboratory and Martin Chalfie of Columbia University, share the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work on green fluorescent protein-a naturally glowing molecule from jellyfish that has become a powerful tool for studying molecules inside living cells. Courtesy of Nathan Shaner, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
Featured in the October 15, 2008, issue of Biomedical Beat.