The NHMRC 2021 Science to Art Award recognises outstanding imagery that has arisen from research funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Imaging is now an integral technology in medical research. These images are not only scientifically important but they can also be aesthetically powerful. The winner is selected by the Council of NHMRC and receives a framed print of their image and acknowledgement of the achievement by NHMRC. 

2019 Science to Art Award

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Winner, NHMRC Science to Art Award 2019

Eddy of Neurons

Mr Jianqun Gao  | The University Of Sydney

Description: Human neurons differentiated from neural stem cells (NSCs) have been used as a novel disease model to study neurodegenerative diseases. This image is showing nuclei (blue) of these NSC-derived neurons, as well as their networks (green and red). It looks like an eddy of neurons attracting us to discover an unknown world. The experiments conducted with these neurons hope to unravel the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

2017 Science to Art Award

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Winner, NHMRC Science to Art Award 2017

Biological

Joshua SS Li   | The University Of Queensland, School of Biomedical Sciences

Description: In the developing brain, neurons find their prospective partners with high precision. How this complex form of biological hardwiring is achieved remains elusive. This image is of the developing visual system of a fruit fly dissected, fixed, immunostained and whole-mounted. Photoreceptor neurons (top) project down towards the lamina neuropil (green) to establish synapses with specific partners. Experiments conducted in this system hope to unravel mechanisms of neurodevelopment.

2015 Science to Art Award

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Winner, NHMRC Science to Art Award 2015

In Search of Memory

Victor Anggono   | Queensland Brain Institute – University of Queensland

Description: Developing nerve cells (neurons) extend their processes, known as axons, and project to one another to establish synaptic connection and form a neural circuit, the activity of which is essential for brain function such as learning and memory.

2013 Science to Art Award

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Winner, NHMRC Science to Art Award 2013

Neural spiderwebs – unlocking the secrets of laser irradiation for pain therapy

Dr Michael Lovelace and colleagues | The University of Sydney

Description: Laser therapy is currently used to treat chronic pain in patients worldwide. This study aimed to elucidate the cellular mechanisms involved in the response of neurons to laser irradiation. This image depicts a monolayer of cultured dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGs), Schwann and satellite cells, used in modelling the response of neurons to laser irradiation. Dye labeling of the cell membranes allows fine processes extending between DRGs to be visualized, while separately we investigated changes in mitochondrial membrane potential. Collectively, these experiments have allowed us to broaden our understanding of the cellular mechanisms involved in pain relief through laser therapy.

2011 Science to Art Award

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Winner, NHMRC Science to Art Award 2011

Spooning

Eric Hanssen | The University of Melbourne

Description: These structures are responsible for the export of the principal virulence factor of the parasite. This segmentation model was made with IMOD from an electron tomogram of a whole Plasmodium falciparum parasite. The rendering was done with Blender.

2021 Entries

Entries for the 2021 award have closed. For queries about this award, please contact NHMRC.Awards@nhmrc.gov.au

Conditions of Entry

  • Images must be generated from research funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (a NHMRC grant reference number is to accompany each submission)
  • Entry is limited to one image per NHMRC funded grant
  • Digitally enhanced or altered images are eligible, but must be accompanied by an explanation of any alterations. 

On Entry, the submitter will be asked to certify that: 

  • The images have not have been exhibited prior to announcement of this award by NHMRC. 
  • They own the image and, satisfying all copyright requirements, they grant NHMRC an enduring, non-exclusive licence to use the image without charge. 

Our commitment to the submitter: 

NHMRC will commit that the submitter’s moral rights will be observed and NHMRC will publicly acknowledge ownership of the image if it is used in any publications.

Announcement

The 2021 awardee is expected to be announced at the NHMRC Research Excellence Awards Dinner in June 2021. The awardee (or their nominated representative if a group or organisation) will be invited to attend the Awards Dinner (subject to any pandemic related event/travel restrictions).