Winners' gallery

Take a look at this year's winning images.

 

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Brain-on-a-chip

Collin Edington and Iris Lee, Koch Institute at MIT

Neural stem cells have the ability to form all the different cell types found in the nervous system. Here, researchers are investigating how neural stem cells grow on a synthetic gel called PEG. After just two weeks, the stem cells (magenta) produced nerve fibres (green). These fibres grew away from the cell due to chemical gradients in the gel, teaching researchers about how their environment affects their structural organisation.

This work supports the Human-on-a-Chip project, which is addressing the inefficiency and cost of traditional drug testing. Researchers have devised ways of growing miniature organs on plastic chips, which they hope can be connected to represent the human body. This could be used to accurately predict the effectiveness and toxicity of drugs and vaccines and remove the need for animal testing in medical research.

The width of this image is approximately 5 mm.

This image appears as a result of the partnership between Wellcome Images and the Koch Institute at MIT.

Imaging technique: confocal microscopy

A type of light microscopy that uses visible light (usually in the form of one or more lasers) to illuminate part of the object being viewed. Out-of-focus light above and below the point of focus is filtered out and eliminated from the final image. Thin optical slices through an object can be stacked on top of one another to produce a digital 3D reconstruction.

Location where image was created

Massachusetts, USA

Image creators

Collin is a postdoctoral research scientist in the Griffith Lab at MIT, where he develops 3D tissue models of the central nervous system and neurodegenerative diseases. Iris completed a BSc degree in biochemistry in 2015 and is currently helping Collin to develop a reliable brain model, as shown in their image. Find out more.

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