Bird Feather Forensics – Know a bird from a micro-feather

Summary: Feathers are hierarchical structures. Looking at the smaller length scales, it's possible to identify specific birds from just a lone feather. Bird feathers are fascinating objects. Not only do we have little understanding of how feathers develop, we know only a little bit how feathers enhance flight mechanics in birds. Walking around both in...

Moss upclose – and a wriggling surprise

Summary: I started looking at moss – since it is ultra thin and you get to see through it. I was up for quiet a wriggling squirming surprise. Green is my favorite color. If I could, I would drive a moss covered car (is that legal?) so it was obvious that I would pluck some…

Watching inside the brain of a live ant!! Part 1

Summary: I have been fascinated with the idea of watching live brains. They are the most complex machines that we know (maybe in the universe). Here is a protocol to get you started to image live “ant brains” Ants are everywhere. It does not matter if you like them or you don’t. They steal your…

How does a fly unstick it’s foot? An adhesive ON/OFF switch!!

Lying on my bed, I have often wondered how does a fly hang upside down. Although it’s small in size (so small forces could balance its weight); this force needs to not only turn ON, but also be turned OFF. Otherwise the fly would stay stuck at one place all the time. Now, let’s think…

Magic of stem cells – part 2

I followed up with the example of imaging fly ovaries with a non-drosophila species (if you can identify this species, please leave a comment). Spotted fly wings

How does a snail move?

Summary: I have always wanted to watch a snail move under a microscope. Today is my lucky day!! Snails are beautiful. They are graceful, well behaved (let’s not talk about cone snails), elegant and just magical to watch. And they are everywhere. Sometimes they harbor terrible diseases (Schistosomiasis, which is endemic in sub-saharan Africa) and sometimes…

Magic of stem cells!!

Summary: A simple prep to start looking at the wonders of developmental and stem cell biology – Live imaging of fly ovaries using Foldscope. We owe a lot of our knowledge in biology to tiny little flies. As a model system goes; they have been remarkable in terms of genetic tools we have available now….

Does a Cigarette filter do anything?

Summary: I wanted to see what cigarette filters look like, and could I actually visualize the pore size to determine if they are capable of filtering anything. I often walk around looking at all the cigratte butts littering the streets. It is an object that is everywhere – and shows up as non-degradable waste around…

Fat plants!!

Summary: Fat plants – or often called Succlent plants have surface morphologies quiet different from common plants we are used to seeing. I wondered, what’s on the surface? Often, walking around I have noticed these nice juicy fat plants. Often termed as Succlent plants. Last time, I picked one up; it has a surface texture that…