Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

In 2017 we celebrated five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Pore Pattern
28 January 2013

Pore Pattern

The inner workings of living organisms have inspired all kinds of new man-made materials. Naturally-occurring drugs can be analysed for their chemical structures and then mimicked in the lab; ingenious biological structures are being carefully examined and their designs put to new uses. Pictured is a sheet of phospholipids – a bendy material that covers our cells with tiny pores, letting nutritious chemicals in and keeping harmful ones out. Superimposed over this microscope picture (with porous areas highlighted in orange), is a computer simulation showing how chemical bonds pull the flower-shaped pores (each 15 million times smaller than a daffodil) into a hexagonal pattern or ‘lattice’. Porous phospholipids might one day be moulded into tiny containers designed to release drugs precisely into diseased cells in the body.

Written by John Ankers

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