In its brief, 4-year history, The Scientist’s annual Top 10 Innovations contest has become a showcase of the coolest life science tools to emerge in the previous year. This year’s installment is no exception. We received more than 65 entries describing exciting new technologies and intriguing methodologies that made their way into labs in 2011.
Our panel of expert judges sifted through the submissions, and the cream of all these innovative products rose to the top. Björn Brembs, from the Freie Universität in Berlin, Medical University of Vienna neuronal cell biologist Michael Kiebler, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory biologist H. Steven Wiley, and Aris Persidis, president of Biovista, a pharmaceutical services company, combined forces to see that the very best of the entries were awarded this year’s prizes.
The Top 10 Innovations of 2011 include a number of the latest advances in microscopy—from a pocket microscope that can be connected to a cell phone’s optics to tools that smash the resolution limitations of traditional scopes, a neat tool to measure light exposure and circadian rhythms, and a first-of-its-kind 360-degree optical imager. Congratulations to all the winners of 2011’s Top 10 Innovations contest, and here’s to the researchers who will use these tools to break new scientific ground and expand our understanding of biology in the months and years to come