Newswise — Two dazzling cell biology themed videos created by researchers who are members of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) premiered on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the 2017 ASCB|EMBO Meeting in Philadelphia as part of ASCB’s Celldance program.

For more than a decade, the popular Celldance video program, established by ASCB’s Public Information Committee (PIC), has helped train cell scientists to improve their visual storytelling skills as they promote public engagement and education in cell biology. The program’s aim is to underscore the fact that explaining basic cell science can be visually compelling as well as informative.

“Celldance gives cell biologists the opportunity to show the world what we do, why we do it, how important our work is, and just how beautiful and cool it can be!” remarked  Lee Ligon, PIC chair and associate professor of biological sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Awardees receive a $1,000 unrestricted production grant to create a short film based on their research. The Public Library of Science (PLOS) also provided generous support for the 2017 Celldance program. Awardees for 2017 include Guillaume Duménil (Institut Pasteur) and Dyche Mullins (University of California, San Francisco) with Lillian Fritz-Laylin (University of Massachusetts, Amherst).

The Duménil lab studies Neisseria meningitidis, the gram-negative bacteria called meningococci that cause meningitis and sepsis. Their video demonstrated the story of how pathogens invade the body, proliferate, and wreak havoc.

“Our research is largely based on different imaging techniques that serve as the basis for these videos,” Duménil explained. “In the case of meningococci, bacteria access the bloodstream, adhere to the endothelium, proliferate, eventually fill the vessel lumen, and trigger vascular damage that characterizes the disease. This bacterium has developed remarkable strategies to carry out this sequence of events.”

The Mullins and Fritz-Laylin laboratories collaborated with several other labs to create a 3D movie that showcases how single cells crawl through complex environments. Their film, which included animation, demonstrated “how these cellular movements are linked to the creation and growth of cytoskeletal protein networks inside the cells,” the team explained.


ASCB Celldance 2017 — “Neisseria meningitidis: at home inside human capillaries” Guillaume Duménil, Institut Pasteur

To view the Guillaume Duménil lab video go to


ASCB Celldance 2017 — “We Know Life by Motion” Dyche Mullins and Lillian Fritz-Laylin

To view the Mullins and Fritz-Laylin laboratories video go to