The power of the Image. As author and cartoonist James Thurber once observed “There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures”. Cell biology would be nowhere without some photons to drench the otherwise dim and often lifeless specimens that we so carefully produce. Thanks to some remarkable developments in microscopes and staining tools, we can easily capture images and sit in awe and wonder at the hitherto invisible beauty found in nature. So what makes an image an outstanding image? Is it the biology underlying? Is it the technical prowess of the sample maker? Is it the composition or colour choice? Is it all these together? It is probably all or at least most of the above.
The 2017 Image competition results are here.
BSCB Competition Winners 2016
1st Prize: Anna Franz
The head of a Drosophila pupa: The developing compound eye (green) is composed of several hundred simple units called ommatidia arranged in an extremely regular array. The giant polyploidy cells of the fat body (red), the fly equivalent of the mammalian liver and adipose tissue, occupy a big area of the head.
2nd Prize: Ronan Mellin
Confocal image showing a murine colonic epithelial organoid grown in Matrigel (3D culture). Crypt-like projections containing epithelial progenitors can be seen protruding from the spheroid. Stained for DNA with DAPI (Blue), the nuclear envelope with LaminB1 (Green) and the centrosome marker γ-tubulin (Red).
3rd Prize: Helen Weavers
This confocal image shows the intricate structure of the developing fly kidney, which is anchored within the body by attachment to nearby heart muscle. The striking striations of the heart (and body wall muscle beneath) are revealed by labeling Actin (majenta). Cell membranes (green) and nuclei (blue) are also stained.
BSCB Competition Winners 2015
1st Prize: Kif Liakath-Ali
Exquisitely dotted melanocytes of mouse skin revealed by anti-TRP1 staining (Green) and individual hair follicles stained by anti-keratin14 (Red). Blue indicates DAPI staining of cell nuclei and autofluorescent hair shafts. Wholemount immunostaining was carried out on mouse tail epidermis.
2nd Prize: Alistair Langlands
Small intestinal polyp of an ApcMin mouse. An IMARIS-rendered surface of Phalloidin (red) and nuclei (cyan) show changes associated with early cancer development. Normal structure is lost as the lumen becomes highly folded and epithelial cells start piling on top of one another due to excess proliferation.
3rd Prize: Joanna Wardyn
This is a confocal image showing intricate structure of astroglial cells (pink, stained with anti GFAP antibody) interconnected with neurons (stained light blue with anti-β III tubulin). Astrocytes are increasingly appreciated as key modulators of neuronal health and function.
You can find out more about the people behind the images here
BSCB Competition Winners 2014
First Prize: Dr. Anna Franz, School of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol.
The beauty and complexity of the central nervous system of a grasshopper embryo is revealed by anti-HRP staining (coloured purple). Other tissues are stained with anti-acetylated tubulin (coloured green).
Dr. Patrick Ovando-Roche, Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London
Neural differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs): Following neural induction of hESCs, cells form neural rosettes structures to give rise to neural progenitors. Neural rosettes can be spotted by their rosette-like conformation and positive co-expression of pax6 (green) and nestin (red). Cell nuclei were counterstained with DAPI (blue).
Dr. Louise Hughes, Bio-Imaging Unit, Department of Biological and Medical Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.
Kissing trypanosomes: The image shows the final stage of cell division for the single-celled parasite, Trypanosoma brucei, with the two daughter cells connected at their posterior end. The image is generated from reconstructed data from serial block face scanning electron microscopy, showing the cells, their flagella (red and purple) and internal organelles.
Highly commended: Timothy Grocott, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich.
Multi-photon imaging of the embryonic eye: A false-coloured image showing a cutaway through the invaginating lens placode (blue tissue layer) situated within the optic cup (yellow tissue layer) of a 2.5-day chick embryo. The surrounding mesenchyme was removed for clarity, while cell nuclei are labelled red.
Highly Commended: Dr. Mistianne Feeney, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry
Arabidopsis thaliana embryo cells imaged by confocal microscopy. Long Caption: The plasma membrane of the Arabidopsis thaliana embryo cells is stained with FM4-64 (shown in red) and protein storage vacuoles autofluoresce (shown in blue).
You can find out more about the people behind the images here.
BSCB Competition Winners 2012
First Prize: Sheng-Wen Chiu, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford
In filamentous cells of the bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides, the tubulin homolog FtsZ (tagged with CFP) forms dot-like and spiral structures in two distinct populations. The FtsZ cytoskeleton affects the localization of the membrane chemosensory protein clusters (YFP). Cell bodies are shown in magenta.
Second Prize: Zuni Irma Bassi, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge
The image shows a midbody purified from HeLa cells synchronized in cytokinesis that has been fixed and immuno-stained to detect tubulin (shown in red) and Citron kinase (shown in green).
Third Prize: Dr Daniel Booth, Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh
A scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of DT-40 cells adhered to glass and fixed with aldehydes. The cells were pseudo coloured to make them resemble scoops of ice-cream.
BSCB Competition Winners 2011
BSCB Competition Winners 2010
Click an image to open gallery.
The rules and regulations for the image competition can be found here.