Tag Archives: Daniel Irimia

Upsets brewing at the Dictys!

New video lifts the podium hopes of three teams: #11 (Faix - Germany), #12 (van Haastert / Kortholt - Netherlands), #17 (Kimmel - US). Watch the video closely for clues to contenders in the Fastest Cell question! But don’t forget that three teams have yet to be broadcast including some pre-race favorites. These are #1 (Queller - US), #18 (Kay - UK), # 14 (Müller-Taubenberger - Germany).

See the latest video at: Dicty LIVESTREAM Video

Then come to SciCast Race Central to adjust your bets!


Dicty World Race Course 2014

The 2014 Dicty Race Course (shown below with no cells in it) was collaboratively designed by a team at Daniel Irimia’s lab. Some clever lad even thought it would be funny to put a Pacman in there. Good call!

2014 Dicty Race Course

At the end of the race course is a straightaway that is 200 microns in length. This straightaway is used to measure speed. Since the microscope only takes an image every 5 minutes, the straightaway allows for Daniel’s lab to tell exactly how many microns the cell moved during the 5 min between that photo and the previous one. Speed is not measured while a cell is in the course because the cell might have taken a number of turns since the last image was taken. 

First shot of Dicty cell lines on the move

To start the race, the cells are dropped into the middle of the maze (circle in upper left) and they begin to migrate outward into the maze on the right. Can you tell what the shortest path is?!

Tweet @scicasters and let us know what you think!


Prepped and Loaded - Cells Loaded into the Maze

The cells have been loaded into the maze. The final preparations for the official start are wrapping up… We’re getting so close to seeing what these cells can really do!

Loading HL60 cell lines into maze

Loading HL60 cell lines into maze

HL60 cells under the microscope

The microscope is motorized so it cycles through the spots on the slide every 5 minutes and takes a picture. The pictures are strung together to make the final “movie” of the race


A Neutrophil’s Point of View

So what does a neutrophil see? The image depicts the Dicty racecourse from the perspective of a hungry neutrophil. The green represents the chemoattractant used to lure cells to the finish line. The cells enter from the bottom, where the signal is the weakest, and move up to the strongest area of attractant.

Race Course - Neutrophil Perspective



Start Your Engines… The Dicty World Race is Tomorrow!

We’re pleased to announce an exciting event taking place tomorrow that intersects science and sports: The Dicty World Race.

It’s basically a race of slime molds, which have been doctored up by the competing labs.

Per Daniel Irimia, a molecular machinist at Harvard Medical School who conceived the idea, “Dirty molecular tricks, genetic manipulation and doping are not only allowed but are strongly encouraged.” (Quoted from Wall Street Journal article.)
SciCast will be covering the race live tomorrow, here: https://scicast.org/dicty. Scientists and hobbyists from around the world are invited to make predictions on who will win the race. 
This race is intended to explore new ways of changing the behavior of white blood cells (which protect us from infections) through new interventions. SciCast forecasters – leading experts in their respective fields - are making predictions on who will win the race, based on the unique approach of each competitor.
Read more in Nature.