Ten of the best scientific images of the year from the Wellcome Image Awards

| 16 March 2015

Showcasing the best scientific pictures, the Wellcome Image Awards are about to tour the UK. Here are ten to look out for

A photo of a bright yellow spikey organism
© Maurizio De Angelis
Maurizio De Angelis, illustration of pollen grains being released from the anther of a flower in the Asteraceae family of flowering plants

One of the largest families of flowering plants, commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, sunflower, or composite family, the Asteraceae family includes herbs, shrubs, plants and some trees.

The flowers are composed of flower heads made up of many tiny flowers or florets. Members of the Asteraceae family have been used as a source of food and in herbal medicines all over the world.

A photo of a forensic view of a male human anatomy sitting in a chair
© Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards, Old model used in the teaching of Anatomy, Dublin

This anatomical model was about to be discarded as rubbish when the photographer decided to rescue it and take one last photograph to honour the service it provided to medical students in Trinity College Dublin.

The photographer back-lit the model to provide a certain effect, making the model appear to be sleeping or taking a rest in a chair after a weary day.

A photo of a mountainously-shaped orange or yellow organism
© David Linstead
David Linstead, Cat tongue, cross section
Polarised light micrograph of a cross section of a cat tongue. This sample is from a vintage prepared slide between 1870 and 1905.

Blood vessels were injected with dye (iron or silver preparation; black) before fixing and sectioning the tissue in order to visualise the capillaries in the tissue. This was a newly developed technique at that time.

A photo of a lgith blue column against a black background
© Geraldine Thompson
Geraldine Thompson, Full paediatric sensory unit
An interactive multi-sensory unit designed to provide a distraction for anxious children undergoing painful hospital procedures.

The unit is approximately five foot tall and includes a bubble tube, fibre optic lights, mirrors, a solar projector and the capability of producing sound.

A photo of millions of small strands of colour from a biological organism
© Albert Cardona, HHMI Janelia Research Campus
Albert Cardona, nervous system in a fruit fly larva
Neural circuits were digitally reconstructed from serial section transmission electron micrographs through an abdominal segment of the fly’s nervous system.

This image shows a lateral view of neurones and neuronal synapses in the neuropil. The transparent orange spheres represent points of interest on the skeletons of the neurones, such as the presence of mitochondria and other features.

A photo of leaves shown in microscopic close-up with blue and pink elements around them
Gregory Szeto, Adelaide Tovar, Jeffrey Wyckoff, drug-releasing depots in mouse lungs
Confocal micrograph of whole mouse lungs loaded with drug carrying microparticles (red/pink). The microparticles were also loaded with a fluorescent tracking dye so that they could be visualised a week after administration.

Current anti-cancer therapies have many toxic side effects so research into other ways of delivering drugs to specific areas of the body are being investigated in order to decrease these unwanted side effects. Here, microparticles were delivered to the lungs using a route similar to drugs administered by an inhaler.

A forensic close-up photo of strands from a biological organism in blue against black
© Prof M Hausser, Sarah Rieubland and Arnd Roth, UCL
Professor M Hausser, Sarah Rieubland and Arnd Roth, UCL, purkinje cell and dendritic tree, rat cerebellar cortex
Scanning electron micrograph of the dendritic tree of a purkinje neurone in the cerebellar cortex of a rat brain.

Dendritic trees are the tiny receiving elements of neurones and receive the vast majority of input information coming into the neurone. This purkinje cell was filled with a visual marker, then imaged using a focused ion beam scanning electron microscope which allows neurones and neural circuits to be reconstructed in high resolution.

A photo showing a luminous forensic view of a brain's cortexes
© Luis de la Torre-Ubieta, Geschwind Laboratory, UCLA
Luis de la Torre-Ubieta, mouse brain, coronal view
Coronal view of a section of mouse brain which has been sliced down a vertical axis to divide it into front and back.

To create this image, brain tissue was first rendered optically transparent in order to be able to look deep into the tissue. Individual images were captured every 5.3 micrometres through a 751 micrometre thick piece of tissue and then subsequently combined into the single image seen here.

A photo of a microscopic view into the view of a weevil-style creature in pink and grey
© Daniel Kariko
Daniel Kariko, Boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis)
The boll weevil is a beetle which feeds on and lays its eggs in the cotton plant, developing from egg to adult in 20 days.

Agricultural pests have long beaks or snouts and can destroy entire cotton crops, this specimen was first imaged with a stereoscopic light microscope in order to produce a colour image. The same area was then imaged by monochromatic scanning electron microscopy which, has much greater depth of field and increased sharpness for the entire specimen.

a photograph of the large cells in of the round eye of the greenfly
© Kevin Mackenzie
Kevin Mackenzie, Greenfly Eye.

Scanning electron micrograph of a greenfly eye. Aphids have a pair of curved compound eyes that bulge out of the head and have a wide angle of view.

Each eye is made up of thousands of repeating units known as ‘ommatidia’, each with a tiny lens on the front surface. Each lens faces a slightly different direction, and together they produce a mosaic image. This allows the fly to see very quick movements but not fine details or objects that are far away.

The Wellcome Image Awards exhibition opens at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester on March 19 2015.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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