Greetings! My name is James Pelletier, and I am super excited to be a new explorer of the microcosmos through a Foldscope! I feel inspired by the beautiful images and questions on the Microcosmos site. I am thrilled to join the Foldscope community and learn from you.
This summer, we will introduce Foldscopes to the Microbial Life class at the Children’s School of Science in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Like Tadayasu Sawaki, the protagonist of Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture, a manga series by Masayuki Ishikawa, we will meet and communicate with diverse microorganisms!
Thank you very much to Manu Prakash and the Foldscope team!
I am a graduate student, interested in the structure and dynamics of cells. I am fascinated by reconstitution approaches: we try to take cells apart and then put the parts back together, to learn about the functional organization of cells. In particular, I am studying mechanisms of cell division in large, eukaryotic frog eggs from Xenopus laevis (see my profile picture, thanks to Holger Krisp from Ulm, Germany for the awesome photograph on Wikimedia Commons) and in small, prokaryotic mycoplasma bacteria.
Yesterday I did an experiment and took my first image using a Foldscope! From frog eggs we prepared cytoplasmic extract, which is a complex fluid that mimics the inside of a cell. Then, we used a microfluidic device, like a miniature aquarium with channels about as wide as human hair, to prepare droplets of cytoplasmic extract surrounded by oil, kind of like a salad dressing. The image shows an uncontrolled region of the device at the end of the experiment, where smaller droplets can fuse together to make larger droplets, resulting in the different sizes. The device did not fit into the Foldscope, so I temporarily taped the lens to the device and then held my phone over the lens. I was surprised how much bigger was the field of view using my phone rather than my eye, it was like stepping through the looking-glass. The droplets are tens of microns in diameter. I am quite curious to calibrate my Foldscope so I can measure sizes.
Thanks again to the Foldscope team!