The UK’s Wellcome trust has selected 22 pictures and images that capture the wonders of the life sciences. They’re now on exhibition in the UK and Ireland. 

The Wellcome Image Awards celebrates this year 20 years of bringing us the best biology images around the world. The awards are destined to visual masterpieces that communicate key aspects of the world of biomedical science and healthcare.

One of the most successful images has been a close-up of an intraocular lens “iris clip”, taken in Cambridge by Mark Bartley. This small lens is fixed to the iris with a tiny surgical incision, 3mm long, and is used to treat myopia and cataracts. The patient of whom the picture was taken from, regained almost full vision thanks to the clip.

Wellcome Image Awards Iris Clip Mark Bartley

Going down to the microscopic level, another of the winning images depicts a synthetic polymer created at MIT with the aim of enabling the delivery of microRNA therapeutics to cancer cells. Taken using fluorescence microscopy by João Conde, Nuria Oliva and Natalie Artzi, the picture directs our attention to the huge breakthroughs in medicine that biotechnology is bringing.

Wellcome Image Awards MIT microRNA cancer

But the overall winner this year is “Stickman“, an image depicting an alter ego from the artist, Spooky Pooka, who suffers from Crohn’s disease. It strives to convey the weight loss that the disease causes and the fragility of the body after a flare-up, while also giving a message for hope and regeneration. This image takes us back to the position of the patients, the ultimate reason why all this stunning research is performed.

Wellcome Image Awards winner Stickman Spooky Pooka

There are plenty more striking images among the winners. In the cover picture, you saw a picture of a colorful zebrafish embryo (left) created using the famous CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tool taken at University College London (UCL) alongside the representation of the brain areas responsible for language and speech (right) taken using MRI at King’s College London.

Each of these award-winning images tells the story of key medical breakthroughs and how they help people worldwide. The 22 winning images will be exhibited in several venues across Europe and Africa with the aim of bringing the latest advances of science closer to the public.


All images from Wellcome Image Awards

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