Wellcome Image Awards you can vote for your favourite

You can vote for your favourite of the 19 finalists in the Wellcome Image Awards – the Wellcome Trust’s most eye-catching celebration of life, science and medicine. The Awards are given to the creators of the most striking, informative and technically excellent images that convey significant aspects of biomedical science.

The nineteen finalists are selected from all the new photographs Wellcome Images has acquired during the preceding twelve months. The panel of judges includes experts in medicine, biomedical science and science communication.

According to the Wellcome Trust: “The Awards showcase the best in science image making.”

Wellcome Image AwardsDividing stem cell in the brain. Image taken by Paula Alexandre, University College London. (Image: wellcomeimageawards.org)

Go to this web page to choose your favourite image.

Below is a list of some of the 19 finalists and a brief synopsis about each one.

Maize Leaves

This image looks inside a cluster of leaves from a young maize (corn) plant, revealing remarkable detail and organised structure.



Each curled leaf consists of several small cells (small green rectangle and square shapes). The orange circle inside each cell is the nucleus, where the plant’s genetic information is stored.

Regarding this finalist, Wellcome writes:

“Maize is one of the most widely grown cereal crops in the world. It is used as a staple food, in livestock feed, and as a raw material – such as for processing into high-fructose corn syrup. Genetically modified maize crops are being grown to be resistant to pests and herbicides.”



The image was created by Fernán Federici, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in collaboration with Jim Haseloff and OpenPlant Cambridge. It is approximately 250 micrometres (0.25 mm) wide.

Moth Scales

A beautiful photograph of the scales on a Madagascan sunset moth (Chrysiridia rhipheus) – a large, colourful moth that flies during the day (most moths fly at night). Native to Madagascar, it is frequently mistaken for a butterfly.

Its wings shimmer in the light and change colour when they move. However, the colours are an illusion.

Light bounces of the scales at different angles giving us the illusion of colours. The wings, in fact, contain hardly any pigment or dye.

The image, by Mark R. Smith from Macroscopic Solutions, is 750 micrometres (0.75 mm) wide.

Bacteria on graphene oxide

Two rod-shaped bacteria placed on an ultra-thin sheet of graphene. Graphene, known as the new wonder material is an atom-thick sheet of carbon – it is the thinnest, strongest and lightest material known to science.

In this image, the bacteria were wrapped up in the graphene sheet unintentionally, when non-sterile water was being used in an experiment.

Scientists want to stick different medications to this material so that they can be carried to the target area in the body when needed. For example, it could be used for transporting antimicrobial medications to kill bacteria, or anticancer drugs to destroy tumours.

The image was taken by Izzat Suffian, Kuo-Ching Mei, Houmam Kafa and Khuloud T Al-Jamal, King’s College London. Each bacterium is about 2 micrometres (0.002 mm) long.

Swallowtail butterfly

Image of the head of a swallowtail butterfly (Papilio machaon). Butterflies have two round compound eyes, which are used to see rapid movements.

Two antennae extend from between the eyes, which are used as sensors, for example, for detecting smell and locating a mate.

They also have a proboscis – a long feeding tube – which in this image is curled up like a spring. The butterfly unrolls it so that it can use it like a straw to drink nectar from flowers.

Swallowtail butterflies are found across most of the world, and are commonly seen in wetlands such as fens and marshes.

This image, which was taken by  Daniel Saftner from Macroscopic Solutions, is 5 mm wide.

Ebola Virus

This image shows the inside of an Ebola virus particle. The virus has a pink-purple membrane around it, stolen from an infected cell. It is studded with turquoise proteins from the virus, which extend outwards and look like little trees rooted in the membrane.

The proteins attach to the cells that are infected by the virus. A layer of blue proteins supports the membrane on the inside. RNA (yellow) is stored in a cylinder (nucleocapsid; green) in the virus’ centre.

The Ebola virus first appeared in the mid-1970s in Africa. It can cause serious infection, and is frequently fatal.

The virus in this image, taken by David S Goodsell from the RCSB Protein Data Bank, is 100 nanometres (0.0001 mm) wide, which is about two hundred times smaller than many of the cell it infects.

Wiring the human brain

This image shows the pathways of nerve fibres in a young healthy adult’s brain, viewed from behind.

Different parts of our brain communicate with each other through these fibres, which in this picture are colour-coded.

The fibres that connect the left and right hemispheres are red, while those that travel up and down and connect the brain and spinal cord are blue. The fibres running from back to front are green.

In this image, taken by Alfred Anwander from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, the brain is 16.5 cm wide.

Premature baby receiving light therapy

This image shows a newborn infant receiving light therapy in the Starlight Neonatal Unit at Barnet General Hospital in London.

This premature baby has jaundice, a condition where waste from the breakdown of red blood cells accumulates in the blood, causing the eyes and skin to turn yellow.

This waste (bilirubin) is normally removed by the liver. However, the liver of a newborn is not yet fully developed and often cannot do this efficiently.

The infant in this photograph, taken by David Bishop from the Royal Free Hospital in London, is being treated in a special incubator and lies under ultraviolet light with his eyes covered.

Black henna allergy

The arm of a young girl whose skin has developed blisters because she is allergic to a black henna tattoo.

Henna is commonly used to stain hair or skin orange-brown. Chemical dyes are sometimes added to turn the colour black. These additional chemical can cause allergic reactions and chemical burns.

Blisters like the ones in this picture can lead to scarring and often affect the natural colouring of the skin.

Paraphenylenediamine, a chemical, is responsible for these reactions. It is also widely used in permanent hair dyes – but its use in these products is strictly controlled.

Temporary tattoos, which are painted or drawn onto skin and eventually fade, are becoming increasingly popular.

This picture was taken by Nicola Kelley from Cardiff and Vale University Hospital NHS Trust.

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