June 15, 2011
I love photomicrography and spend a lot of time on the Nikon Small World website perusing snapshots of the scientist’s trade. Today’s photographs, however, come from the projects funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). BHF asked the researchers of it’s 1200 projects to submit the best images that they have produced in the course of their work for their Reflections of Research competition. Here’s what they came up with –
|Winner: Feeding the heart
Professor Nicolas Smith, Kings College London and University of Oxford
This virtual model shows the blood flow through vessels serving the heart. During the heartbeat, different amounts of pressure are put on the different blood vessels that feed the heart – shown here in different colours.
|Runner up: What colour is your heart?
Dr Vanessa Ferreira, Dr Stefan Piechnik, Dr Theodoros Karamitsos and Professor Stefan Neubauer, University of Oxford
This collage of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the heart is inspired by a new imaging technique called T1-mapping. T1-mapping uses colour to give more information about heart disease than standard black and white MRI scans.
|Shortlisted: A fatty plaque
Professor David Greaves (University of Oxford) and Professor Ed Fisher (NYU & Eastman Visiting Professor in Oxford)
This image is a cross-section of a “fatty plaque” from a mouse artery. Fatty plaques are a mixture of “bad” LDL-cholesterol, immune cells and other material, which can build up in arteries and eventually rupture, releasing a blood clot which can cause a heart attack or stroke. This image was created using a technique called immunoflourescence microscopy.
|Dr Patrizia Camelliti, Imperial College London
This image shows human heart cells growing on a bioengineered “scaffold”. Cells have been stained with fluorescent molecules to identify the nuclei in blue, and the cell body, in pink. The research behind this image involves working out the roles that different cells play in heart structure and function, and particularly the relationship between cells and their surrounding environment.
|Dr Elisabeth Ehler, Kings College London
Beating heart cells – called cardiomyocytes – sit within a “scaffold” that keeps the heart in shape. Problems with this scaffold are a hallmark of some types of heart disease. This image shows a green cardiomyocyte in a Petri dish. It appears to be making contact with another type of cell, called a fibroblast, shown in red. Fibroblasts help produce the scaffold that holds the heart in shape. Understanding how these different types of cell interact will aid our understanding of how heart disease develops.
You can see all the photos at the BHF website and also the Best Video Awards.
All photographs copyright of British Heart Foundation. Descriptions of photos from British Heart Foundation.
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