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Scientists capture winter wonderland from intestinal proteins

A Wintry impression of the intestine. β-catenin (green) and nuclei (blue) in intestinal epithelium by immunofluorescence. β-catenin is the key protein in the canonical Wnt signalling pathway, which maintains intestinal homeostasis.

A Wintry impression of the intestine. β-catenin (green) and nuclei (blue) in intestinal epithelium by immunofluorescence. β-catenin is the key protein in the canonical Wnt signalling pathway, which maintains intestinal homeostasis. Alex Greenhough and Paloma Ordóñez Morán

Prostate cancer cells (PC-3, blue and pink) invading through a 3D collagen matrix containing non-cancerous fibroblasts (green). The cancer cells interact intimately with the fibroblasts, which in turn stretch and pull on the matrix to create archways that the cancer cells invade through.

Prostate cancer cells (PC-3, blue and pink) invading through a 3D collagen matrix containing non-cancerous fibroblasts (green). The cancer cells interact intimately with the fibroblasts, which in turn stretch and pull on the matrix to create archways that the cancer cells invade through. Alex Greenhough and Paloma Ordóñez Morán

Press release issued: 27 November 2012

A winter wonderland derived from cells deep within the intestine is just one of a selection of winning images created by scientists inspired by some of the cellular processes that underpin human life. The University of Bristol’s annual Art of Science Competition challenged researchers to look for aesthetic beauty in the laboratory to help make their work more accessible to the public.

The University of Bristol’s annual Art of Science Competition challenged researchers to look for aesthetic beauty in the laboratory to help make their work more accessible to the public. Judged from over 90 entries the winning shots range from abstract-like images of fluorescent tissue cells to a heart-shaped cervical lymph node and an invasion of cancer cells. 

The 12 winning entries will be displayed in an exhibition from mid-December at the At-Bristol café and will be made into a 2013 Calendar.

Nicole Antonio, a researcher from the University’s School of Biochemistry and co-ordinator of the competition, said: “The high quality found in the images received this year highlights how scientists are not the stereotypical eccentrics in white coats, but in fact highly creative and artistic. The aesthetic beauty that the researchers have found within their work, taken whilst studying medical problems that affect us all, such as cancer and arthritis, is something that we hope everyone can relate to.”

The winning works were judged and selected according to their scientific and artistic content by Phil Winfield, CEO of At-Bristol; Will Bolton, professional wildlife photographer; and Jon Keating, Dean of Science at the University of Bristol.

Many images will be selected and submitted to Wellcome Images. The biomedical collection holds over 40,000 high-quality images from the clinical and biomedical sciences, and is the world's leading source of images of medicine and its history.