This year’s finalists of the 2017 Wellcome Image Awards have once again brought some mesmerizing images from the astonishing world of science collected over the span of last year.
The entries include photos, 3D models and digital illustrations of human and animal anatomy and scientific processes, with the winner scheduled to be announced on March 15 at the Wellcome Trust in London. Below are some of our favorites!
Vessels of a Pig Eye
The above image of blood vessels in a pig’s eye was taken using computed tomography (CT) and 3D printing by researchers from Switzerland. The pupil can be seen at far right.
Language Pathways of the Brain
The white matter pathway connecting areas for speech and language in the brain was modeled using 3D-printed reconstruction in this image. The technique used is called tractography, which scanned the movement of water molecules flowing within the brain and created the model.
Surface of a Mouse Retina
The image of mouse’s retina required over 400 microscopic images stitched together. The blue lines are blood vessels while the astrocytes (specialist cells of the nervous system) are represented in red and green, which was being researched to investigate retinal degeneration and the cure for vision loss.
The Placenta Rainbow
The “Placenta Rainbow” in the image above comes from genetically-modified mice which had distinct immune systems thus the different colors. Researchers manipulated the mother’s immune system to highlight the differences in placental development and better understand the complications during human pregnancies.
Unraveled DNA in a Human Lung Cell
The eye candy above is actually the nucleus of a human lung cell that is stuffed with DNA. The deformed shape of the cell comes from the tension exerted by rope-like strands of DNA pulling between the two cells.
Developing Spinal Cord
The three images above show the open end of a mouse’s neural tube (constituent of the spinal cord) with each of the image highlighting one of the three main embryonic tissue types (in blue). The left most will develop into the brain, spine, and nerves, the next one will form the organs, and the one on the right most will form the skin, teeth, and hair.
The high contrast picture shows the eye of a four-day-old zebrafish embryo. This particular zebrafish was genetically edited using the CRISPR-Cas9 system and strategic breeding which made specific parts of its body glow in fluorescent red. The fish’s nervous system is visible in greenish-blue.
This image of cat’s skin was taken using a polarized light micrograph which only allows light traveling in a specific orientation to pass, which shows hairs and in yellow and the blood supply in black.
The image above shows the process of fitting an “iris clip” or an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) onto the eye. The device is fitted after a small surgical incision and is used by patients suffering from nearsightedness and cataracts.
MicroRNA Scaffold Cancer Therapy
The synthetic net is called microRNAs and can coat a tumor while delivering short genetic sequences to cancer cells. This cancer therapy was tested on mice and showed the tumors shrinking by as much as 90 percent within two weeks.
Hawaiian Bobtail Squid
The Hawaiian bobtail squids are found in the Pacific Ocean and are usually nocturnal predators that hide under the sand during the day and hunt for shrimp near coral reefs at night. These amazing animals have a light organ on their underside that hosts glowing bacteria called Vibrio fischeri, explaining its vibrant bioluminescent qualities.
The combination of CT scans and digital imaging brought this amazing picture of an entire network of blood vessels in a pigeon down to the scale of the capillary level. This extensive network of blood supply below the skin allows the pigeon to control its body temperature using a process called thermoregulation.
Blood Vessels of an African Grey Parrot
This 3D reconstruction shows the intricate network of blood vessels in an African gray parrot’s neck and head. The model was possible via a new contrast agent called BriteVu, which allows researchers to study the bird’s vascular system right down to the capillary level.
The winner of the Wellcome Image Awards will be revealed on 15th March.
I know it’s a tough contest, but which one is your favourite?