NHMRC Science to Art Award 2013

Imaging is now a central component for medical research. These images are not only scientifically important, they can also be aesthetically powerful. The NHMRC Science to Art prize recognises outstanding examples of the art that can arise from the research funded by NHMRC.

The Council of NHMRC judged the most outstanding electronic image generated by NHMRC funded research. The winners are below.

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
Image source: Zeiss META 510 confocal laser scanning microscope (Bosch Institute Advanced Microscope Facility) was used for imaging.
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.

Highly Commended, NHMRC Science to Art Award 2013

Human skin tissue collection using micro-sized biopsy device

Ms Li Lin, The University of Queensland
Image source: JEOL JCM-6000 NeoScope Benchtop SEM.
Description: This is a pseudo-colored image of a human skin tissue (brown) obtained by a micro-sized biopsy device (blue) developed to address the need for a minimally invasive sampling of photoaged skin. Our project is to develop better antioxidant therapies for photodamaged skin and this micro-sized biopsy device will enable a minimally invasive method to collect skin from volunteers without the need for local anaesthetic and suture. The samples can be used to investigate UV damage induced specific genes, profile oncogene mutations and evaluate reactive oxygen species levels. We are using these micro-biopsies to evaluate targeted antioxidant delivery in photodamaged skin.

Highly Commended, NHMRC Science to Art Award 2013

A follicular rainbow

Dr Ian Smyth, Monash University
Image source: Leica SPE Confocal Microscope.
Description: The image is a 3D reconstruction of mouse tail skin. The nucleus of each cell in the epidermis has been stained using a dye and the intensity of this stain has been rendered using the rainbow spectrum seen in the image. The elongated structures are the hair follicles themselves (in effect viewed from "inside" the skin) and the paired balloon like structures towards the left hand end of each follicle are the sebaceous glands. Different follicles are at different stages of the cycle of hair growth and regression, hence their different lengths. In mouse tail skin the follicles are predominantly arranged in triplets.