The toxoplasma parasite uses mammalian cells to replicate. You can see the structures they form when that happens, vacuoles that researcher Clare Harding compares to flowers in this video from the Koch Institute at MIT. The image she’s created is one of this year’s Image Award winners. In it, the parasites can be seen in white, while the cellular DNA is shown in blue and the cells are outlined in red.
While the parasite continues to replicate until it causes the cell to burst, the infection usually doesn’t cause any symptoms. The work has given Harding an opportunity, however, to study things that have not been examined by anyone else. Check out the video to learn more.