Stunning photographic exhibition a window on medical research

Stem Cell Stories exhibition
Stem Cell Stories exhibition
Stem Cell Stories exhibition
Stem Cell Stories exhibition
Stem Cell Stories exhibition
Stem Cell Stories exhibition
Photo gallery of some of the images from Stem Cell Stories

Stem Cell Stories currently on show at RiAus in Adelaide juxtaposes spectacular scientific images taken by researchers and moving portrait photography of people with diseases that may become treatable as a result of stem cell research.

The exhibition of 24 large-format prints was commissioned to stimulate public thought on the potential for stem cell treatments to repair damaged and diseased cells in the body, says Dr Michael O'Connor from the UWS School of Medicine.

"There was a real need for the community to engage in the discussion around stem cell research or 'regenerative medicine' in a deeper and more meaningful way," says Dr O'Connor, who is also Vice President of the Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research (ASSCR).

"Regenerative medicine has the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of people with a wide range of conditions, and this has been reflected in the diversity of images on display."

Regenerated eye lens 

A functional regenerated eye lens that has been grown in the laboratory by Dr O'Connor from lens stem cells.

The exhibition features stunning images of muscle fibres, neurons, stem cells, skins cells and even a regenerated eye lens.

Portraits in the exhibition include those of Ashley a 26-year old woman with severe gastroparesis, a digestive disorder which literally means 'paralysed stomach'; and Robert Pask an advocate for people living with disability and chronic illness.

The images were selected from over 50 entries submitted by researchers and the general public across Australasia in an ASSCR competition - judged by three experts with extensive backgrounds in the arts, sciences, and patient advocacy: Oron Catts (SymbioticA), Mari Velonaki (National Institute of Experimental Arts, NSW), and Trish Hansen (Arts SA).

Dr O'Connor says complementing the exhibition are specially produced information panels, brochures and web pages, which provide easy to read information on stem cell research.

"It is essential people have accurate and easy to read information on stem cell research to help them understand the scientific research underway and inform their choices on stem cell therapies already available," he says.

Stem Cell Stories is currently on display at RiAus(opens in a new window) in Adelaide until Friday 25 July and will tour to other locations later this year.

Neural networks 

A complex cell culture based on mouse embryonic brain cells is shown growing on a coated biomaterial surface. Axon wiring between neuron groups (cyan) were imaged, along with myelin (orange), the biological insulator of neuron wires. A general stain of biological structures was also imaged (grey).

Image by Andrew Woolley, in collaboration with Aaron Gilmour, Rylie Green, Nigel Lovell, & John Morley.


What is a Stem Cell?

  • Stem cells are immature cells that can divide and make copies of themselves ('self-renewal').
  • Stem cells can produce the mature cell types needed by the body 'differentiation').
  • Tissue-specific ('adult') stem cells in your body can only make related cell types (e.g. blood stem cells make blood cells).
  • Pluripotent ('reprogrammed' or 'embryonic') stem cells grown
  • in the laboratory can make all cell types in the body.

What are Stem Cell Treatments?

It is hoped stem cells, and the cells they make, may eventually provide new treatments to help repair or replace damaged and diseased cells in the body.
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