This is an organoid: a miniature intestine, created in the lab and consisting of about 1000 mouse cells. It is about the size of a grain of sand. Turquoise indicates the outer surfaces of the intestinal cells; pink the cells that support the growth of stem cells, so that the intestine can renew itself. The hollow interior functions as the intestinal lumen. (Photoshop oil-painting filter applied)
Last year the Dutch Cancer Society awarded Saskia a young investigator grant of €659,000. Once it becomes clear which kinds of signals occur during competition between the cells, then she can also attempt to inhibit these signals - which might reduce growth rates in malignant cells.
Incidentally, creating an image of this kind involves much more work than just pressing a button on the microscope. The organoid is 3D, while the microscope uses lasers to create a 2D (flat) image. Saskia therefore makes images of 50 cross-sections of the organoid, and then combines them to produce a 3D depiction of the entire organoid that can be closely examined.
Read more about this research on the Dutch Cancer Society website (Dutch).