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Incredible Biomedical Imagery From The 2016 Wellcome Trust Awards


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockMar 8 2016, 14:26 UTC
270 Incredible Biomedical Imagery From The 2016 Wellcome Trust Awards
"Pathways of nerve fibres in the brain of a young healthy adult." Alfred Anwander, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science

The Wellcome Trust has released the winners of its annual image awards, and they’re as beautiful as they are scientifically fascinating.

The awards have a strong focus on images from medical, clinical, or biological research. In fact, many of the images come straight from real pioneering investigations – from studies on stem cells and early stroke detection, to work on the Ebola virus and Toxoplasmosis-causing parasites.


Winners were decided by a panel of judges from a range of backgrounds, including medical correspondents, picture editors, and scientists. In a statement, Fergus Walsh – one of the judges and the BBC’s Medical Correspondent – said: “The Wellcome Image Awards consistently uncover a stunning range of images that not only capture the imagination but help bring complex concepts to life. From otherworldly pictures to intricate close-ups, these spectacular images draw you in and tell important stories about medical research today.”

This year’s winners will be exhibited from March 16, at numerous museums, galleries, and science centers around the world. You can find the full list of venues here. If you don’t manage to catch the exhibitions, you can view all of this year's winners here, and check out a selection of the winners below, with their official captions. 

"A close-up of the head of a swallowtail butterfly. Butterflies have two big round eyes for seeing quick movements and two antennae for smelling. They also have a long feeding tube, which is curled up like a spring here, but it unrolls so the butterfly can use it like a straw to drink nectar from flowers. This picture is 5mm wide." Macroscopic Solutions

“A single human stem cell, which has a natural ability to repair damaged tissue and can divide to produce some of the different cells found in the body. This cell is sitting in a mixture of chemicals designed to mimic its natural environment inside the body, so that researchers can better understand how it interacts with its surroundings.” Sílvia A Ferreira, Cristina Lopo and Eileen Gentleman, KCL
"This photograph was taken the day before William Pooley was admitted to the Royal Free in August 2014, after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone... This special see-through tent surrounds a bed in the Royal Free Hospital in London. It’s for patients who have a dangerous infectious disease, like Ebola. The tent keeps the ill person away from other people, so they can be safely treated without the disease spreading to other patients or doctors. Even the air leaving the tent is cleaned." David Bishop, Royal Free Hospital, London
"Watercolour and ink on paper illustration of a cross section through an Ebola virus particle. A virus is a tiny germ that can make living things sick if it gets inside them. The Ebola virus can make people very ill, even causing some of them to die. It can spread between people when they touch body fluids (like blood or spit) which have the virus in them. This virus is about 100 nanometres (0.0001 mm) wide, which is 200 times smaller than many of the cells that it infects." David S. Goodsell, RCSB Protein Data Bank
"A black henna tattoo on the arm of a young girl. Henna is a dye that people use to draw on their skin, but it disappears over time. This girl has blisters on her arm because she is allergic to the dye. The blisters will heal but they may leave marks on her skin." Nicola Kelley, Cardiff and Vale University Hospital NHS Trust
"A 3D picture inside the back of a human eye. Tunnels like these carry blood to the eye to help it work properly. Pictures like this are used by doctors to help them spot early signs of disease in the eye. These tiny tunnels are about 100 micrometres (0.1 mm) tall." Peter Maloca, University of Basel
"This newborn baby was born early and has jaundice, a common condition which turns the skin and eyes yellow. The baby is being treated in a special container called an incubator and lies under a blue coloured light, with eyes covered." David Bishop, Royal Free Hospital, London

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