Winners' gallery

Take a look at this year's winning images.


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Surface of a mouse retina

Gabriel Luna, Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara

The retina, located at the back of the eye, contains light-sensitive cells responsible for converting light into electrical nerve signals that the brain can process. As a result of ageing or injury the retina can lose this function, causing vision loss. This image was created by digitally stitching together over 400 images to form one large image, so as to show the entire surface of a mouse retina.

Blood vessels (blue) can be seen radiating from the centre of the image, supplying the entire retinal surface. Astrocytes, specialist cells of the nervous system, are double stained in red and green. These cells perform many functions – including maintaining and delivering nutrients to the nerves and the brain, and supporting the repair processes of the brain and spinal cord following injury – and are important for nerve survival and regeneration. Here, scientists are researching whether the function of astrocytes changes during retinal degeneration, which may lead to the development of new treatments for vision loss.

The width of a mouse retina is 3–4 mm.

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

California, USA

Image creator

Gabe is a research specialist in Steven K Fisher’s laboratory at the University of California. He has received numerous imaging awards for his microscopy, and his images have featured in Microscopy and Analysis and Microscopy Today. On a personal note, Gabe enjoys learning to play the acoustic guitar, long-distance trail running and landscape photography. Find out more.

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