Winner of the 3rd prize in the “Protein Science in Images” competition 2023


Name: Mélanie Côté-Cyr
Affiliation: UQAM
Contest year: 2023, 3rd prize winner of the “La science des protéines imagée” contest.

Photo title

Through the networks of a hydrogel

Photo description

Hydrogels are highly hydrated materials being studied in particular in tissue engineering and regeneration. This atomic force microscopy image shows in yellow the nanometer-diameter fibers that make up a synthetic peptide-based hydrogel. Inside such a material, peptides assemble into fiber networks and interact with water molecules to keep the gel hydrated. When preparing the sample for microscopy, the hydrogel must be dried. However, the high water-holding capacity of the peptide used means that residues of the buffer solution of water and salts used to form the hydrogel can be seen as blue islands. The hydration of this hydrogel makes it an interesting support for animal cell growth.