There is dirt
under my fingernails
and tread marks
across my heart,
but
oh
if I could be saved
by anyone but myself
it would be you.
It is always you
with your unassuming
effervescent
you-ness.
My lungs collapse
at the thought
of you.
My skin sings
at the possibility
of being touched by you.
—  Michelle K., You and Your You-ness.

Vascular smooth muscle cells

Our hearts pump some 50 million gallons of blood in our lifetime, and our arteries take a beating because of it. Arteries have the critical task of withstanding the high blood pressure that comes with each heart stroke. To do this, arteries are lined with thick vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) that contract and relax to control blood pressure and secrete proteins to cushion against each and every heartbeat. In this image, human embryonic stem cells have been transformed into VSMCs as shown by smooth muscle-specific markers in red and green. Creating VSMCs will be useful to study vascular abnormalities found in several diseases, including muscular dystrophy.

Image by Leslie Caron.

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