What am I looking at? Green vs Red

Portuguese Version


The images created during the daily scientific and medical endeavours at the Champalimaud Foundation can be as beautiful and compelling as any work of art. To the untrained eye, these images might also appear baffling, but, if you know what you’re looking at, they may just reveal information that can spark discoveries, contribute to the improvement of patient quality of life and maybe even alter our understanding of reality.

Through a combination of images, sound and text, each edition of this series asks Champalimaud Foundation researchers and clinicians to consider images from their own work, decoding these complex visuals and deepening our understanding of their work through this simple question: “What am I looking at?”

Launched in May 2024 to coincide with the Portuguese National Scientists Day (16 May), this inaugural edition appears to depict a battle of sorts between red and green ‘armies’, but what exactly is going on in this image created by researchers from the Systems Oncology Lab?

“Observe two armies facing off under a microscope. The green troops are the body’s own epithelial cells that line and protect our organs, while the red invaders are breast cancer cells. Labelling these cells with different fluorescent colours reveals the unfolding of this confrontation in real-time.

In a healthy body, cells respect each other’s boundaries. They stop moving when they collide into each other, which helps keep everything in our tissues in order. But cancer cells have broken rank. They keep advancing even when they touch other cells, which lets them spread into new territory.

This image captures the moment when the red cancer cells breach the front line, pushing forward into the epithelial cell layer. By watching this interaction play out, we can learn more about the mutinous properties of cancer cells and look for ways to stop them in their tracks.”

Original Idea: John Lee
Concept Development & Curation: António Monteiro, Carla Emilie Pereira, Catarina Ramos, Diana Cadete, Hedi Young, João Van Zelst, John Lee, Marta Correia, Teresa Fernandes.
Source (Image & Text): Adrianna Bielowka, Systems Oncology Lab
Script: Hedi Young and John Lee
Design: Carla Emilie Pereira
Narration: Hedi Young and Marta Correia
Sound: João Van Zelst
Translation: Catarina Ramos
Dissemination: Diana Cadete

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