Wellcome Image Awards 2014 – The winners
The winners of the 13th Wellcome Image Awards were announced this evening at a ceremony at the Wellcome Trust’s headquarters in London. The 18 winning images, created by scientists, photographers and artists from around the world, give an up-close-and-personal view of humans, animals, plants and the environment. Wellcome Images’s Sabrina Taner introduces us to the overall winning image…
The overall winning image was created by Professor Anders Persson, Director of the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV) at Linköping University in Sweden. It shows the chest of a patient who received a mechanical heart pump (coloured blue) while waiting for a heart transplant.
Virtual ‘slices’ of the patient’s chest were created using X-rays in a specialised type of CT scan. The images were then put together to create a 3D digital model that can be rotated, virtually cut into and magnified as required.
Different colours and degrees of transparency can also be applied to the various tissues. In this view, the heart pump, breastbone (complete with L-shaped metal sutures), collarbone and ribcage have been made opaque. Other layers of tissue have been made transparent so that the connections between the heart and the pump can be checked. Thankfully the connections in this image were found to be faultless.
During imaging, the patient’s arms were raised up near their head to avoid them being in the picture and to reduce the necessary radiation dose. This technique (dual-energy computed tomography, or DECT) is extremely useful for noninvasively investigating and diagnosing medical conditions and for performing virtual autopsies.
BBC Medical Correspondent Fergus Walsh hosted the ceremony, and was also a member of the judging panel. “Yet again the judges were delighted by the quality of the images submitted,” he said, before going on to explain their final choice.
“It was very hard work picking an overall winner, but we were especially impressed by Anders Persson’s 3D image of a mechanical heart fitted inside a human chest.
“The juxtaposition of delicate human anatomy with the robust mechanical plumbing parts was striking, and the image was rendered so vividly in 3D that it appears to jump out at the viewer.”
Scanning electron micrographs of a kidney stone (from the image creator’s own body) and a head louse nit attached to a human hair, an X-ray projection of a bat, a 3D computed tomography image of a seal skull and a beautifully coloured agricultural sludge sample are all amongst the 2014 winners. There was stiff competition for this year’s Awards, from beautifully photographed pathology samples to powerful images of couples with Down’s syndrome and meticulously hand-drawn artworks of Nobel Prize winners. Thank you to all of our contributors for making it really tough for the judges this year and congratulations once again to all of our winners!
Slideshow of the winning images:
To see all 18 winning images visit the Wellcome Image Awards website. You can also see all the winning images on display for the first time in simultaneous public exhibitions at four major science centres across the UK: the Glasgow Science Centre, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, Techniquest in Cardiff and W5 in Belfast.
Image credit: Anders Persson (Mechanical Heart Pump)