Blair Madison, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, and Andrea Waite,
Graduate Student, Cell & Developmental Biology, University of Michigan

The surface of the intestine is lined by millions of finger-like structures (villi) that
extend into the lumen of the intestine to provide enormous surface area for
absorption of nutrients. This photomicrograph shows a portion of an intestinal
villus. The blue ovals are nuclei of individual cells that cover the villus’ surface.
These cells absorb proteins, sugars and fats from food in the gut lumen. The
absorbed nutrients are processed by these cells, and then secreted into blood
vessels that spiral up into the center of the villi (pink). The muscles (beige) in the
center squeeze the villi to pump nutrients into the main blood stream.

Donna DeSoto

Two things initially drew me to this photo: the beautiful blue
colors and the organic shapes! I have an extensive collection
of all shades of blue fabric, and I was eager to use it, set off
against a stark black background. This piece was constructed
with commercial cotton fabric, some enhanced by the addition
of paint and/or stamping. Raw edged shapes were applied
to the background by free motion quilting. This quilt was
made in honor of my father-in-law, Oscar DeSoto, who was
born in Cuba.

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