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A stunning kaleidoscope of images revealed as winners of Great Ormond Street's first image awards

Published: 28th February, 2022 at 04:00
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In this exclusive preview, Great Ormond Street Hospital reveals stunning images of life-changing research in their first photography prize.

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust have just released the winners of their first research image competition 'A moment of Research'.  

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Staff from across the trust, including the National Institute for Health Research Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR GOSH BRC) and University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (UCL GOS ICH), were invited to submit images that highlighted any aspect of their life-changing research that helps find treatments and cures for some of the most complex illnesses. These ranged from beautiful microscopy to intricate representations of data and photography.  

The winning image, ‘Leukocyte Kaleidoscope’ entered by PhD student Christina Burke, shows immune cells in the tonsil tissue. Among the blues and pinks are T-cells, which play an important role in fighting cancer. Those surrounded by a yellow ring are at risk of becoming over-stimulated, or ‘exhausted’. Burke’s team are looking at images like this to better understand how T-cells interact with other cells within a tumour. 

Great Ormond Street Hospital is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals with the broadest range of dedicated, children’s healthcare specialists under one roof in the UK. The hospital’s pioneering research and treatment gives hope to children with the rarest, most complex and often life-threatening conditions.

Winning Image - Leukocyte kaleidoscope

'Leukocyte Kaleidoscope' was entered by PhD student Christina Burke. This sea of blues and pinks captures the different immune cells, or leukocytes, flowing through the tonsil tissue at any one moment. Each leukocyte has a specific role to play within the tissue. For example, the cells coloured in light blue that form what looks like a river running through the centre of the image are T-cells. These are part of the adaptive immune system and help fight infection. Upon closer inspection, some T-cells are circled in a yellow ring, indicating a T-cell that is at risk of being over-stimulated and becoming ‘exhausted’. Immune cells, particularly T-cells, play a vital role in fighting cancer. Christina's team hopes that using this imaging technique, known as chip cytometry, they will be able to better understand how T-cells interact with other cells within a tumour. Photo by
This sea of blues and pinks captures the different immune cells, or leukocytes, flowing through the tonsil tissue at any one moment. Each leukocyte has a specific role to play within the tissue. For example, the cells coloured in light blue that form what looks like a river running through the centre of the image, are T-cells. These are part of the adaptive immune system and help fight infection. Upon closer inspection, some T-cells are circled in a yellow ring, indicating a T-cell that is at risk of being over-stimulated and becoming ‘exhausted’. Immune cells, particularly T-cells, play a vital role in fighting cancer. Christina's team hopes that using this imaging technique, known as chip cytometry, they will be able to better understand how T-cells interact with other cells within a tumour. Photo by Christina Burke

Panel favourite - Flames of hope

This image It shows photoreceptors, which when stained generated an orange flame, grown in the lab from stem cells. Photoreceptors are the cells in the retina, a thin layer of tissue in the back of our eye, that help us to detect light and ultimately see. Retinal degenerative disorders are the leading cause of blindness worldwide with debilitating life-long consequences for those affected. It is hoped that one day we may be able to transfer cells like these, grown in a lab, into patients to help restore their sight. Photo by Dr Hassan Rashidi
This image shows photoreceptors, which when stained generated an orange flame, grown in the lab from stem cells. Photoreceptors are the cells in the retina, a thin layer of tissue in the back of our eye, that help us to detect light - and ultimately see. Retinal degenerative disorders are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, with debilitating life-long consequences for those affected. It is hoped that one day we may be able to transfer cells like these, grown in a lab, into patients to help restore their sight. Photo by Dr Hassan Rashidi

Panel favourite - Staghorn calculus

Dr Susan Shelmerdine, Consultant Paediatric Radiologist at GOSH. This image shows a three-dimensional reconstruction of the kidneys, with the right kidney having a large kidney stone, known as a 'staghorn calculus' – this is particularly striking when compared to the healthy kidney on the left. Kidney stones affect 1 in 10 people and may be caused by chronic infections or metabolic diseases. They are caused by the build-up of crystals in the kidney which forms a hard stone-like lump. The build-up of this over time can result in the gradual damage to kidney tissues. Dr Shelmerdine and her team use these reconstruction images to explain their findings in a more understandable way to their patients.
This image shows a three-dimensional reconstruction of the kidneys, with the right kidney having a large kidney stone, known as a 'staghorn calculus'. This is particularly striking when compared to the healthy kidney on the left. Kidney stones affect 1 in 10 people and may be caused by chronic infections or metabolic diseases. They are caused by the build-up of crystals in the kidney which forms a hard stone-like lump. The build-up of this over time can result in gradual damage to kidney tissues. Photo by Dr Susan Shelmerdine

Shortlisted - From the Milky way to the airway

Katie-Marie Case. Reminiscent of Vincent van Gough's Starry Night, this is an image of human nasal cells cultured in a petri dish. The cells are covered in cilia – tiny hairs used to trap and clear foreign bodies from the nose. Studying human cells under a microscope can help researchers like Katie-Marie spot important differences between different groups of people. When studying why COVID-19 affects certain age groups more than others, Katie- Marie noticed that these galaxy-like spirals were only present in elderly patients. Photo by
Reminiscent of Vincent van Gough's Starry Night, this is an image of human nasal cells cultured in a petri dish. The cells are covered in cilia – tiny hairs used to trap and clear foreign bodies from the nose. Studying human cells under a microscope can help researchers spot important differences between different groups of people. When studying why COVID-19 affects certain age groups more than others, researchers noticed that these galaxy-like spirals were only present in elderly patients. Photo by Katie-Marie Case.

Shortlisted - Split brain

'Split brain' was entered by Dr Gabriel Galea, Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellow at UCL GOS ICH. This image shows the very early development of a mouse embryo brain. At this stage when the embryo is just two millimetres long, the brain is split down the middle, each side developing independently. The left and right halves can be seen gradually folding to meet each other, like two butterfly wings coming up to meet at the tips. Eventually these folds meet in the middle, fusing into a single brain. In around 1 in every 1,000 pregnancies either the brain or spinal cord fail to close together. Failure to fully close the brain causes a deadly malformation known as anencephaly. Gabriel's team are trying to understand what causes anencephaly and how we may prevent it by studying the closing process in their lab.
This image shows the very early development of a mouse embryo brain. At this stage when the embryo is just two millimetres long, the brain is split down the middle, each side developing independently. The left and right halves can be seen gradually folding to meet each other, like two butterfly wings coming up to meet at the tips. Eventually, these folds meet in the middle, fusing into a single brain. Photo by Dr Gabriel Galea

Shortlisted - Mini stomach

'SARS-CoV-2 infected ‘mini-stomach’ was submitted by Dr Giovanni Giuseppe Giobbe, a Senior Research Associate at UCL GOS ICH. This image shows a 'mini-stomach', also known as an organoid, which are 3D structures of cells grown in a lab that mimic the behaviour of organs found in the body. The cells highlighted in green in this 'mini- stomach' are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These 'mini-stomachs' allow us to study diseases in even more detail than before. They provide scientists with invaluable tools to study how our human organs function, both when they are healthy, and when they impacted by disease, like Covid-19.
This image shows a 'mini-stomach', also known as an organoid, which are 3D structures of cells grown in a lab that mimic the behaviour of organs found in the body. The cells highlighted in green in this 'mini-stomach' are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
These 'mini-stomachs' allow us to study diseases in even more detail than before. They provide scientists with invaluable tools to study how our human organs function, both when they are healthy, and when they are impacted by disease, like COVID-19. Photo by Dr Giovanni Giuseppe Giobbe

Shortlisted - The colours of change

The colours of change
This image is a 3D visualisation of a child's head with trigonocephaly (triangular head) both before (left) and after surgery (right).
Trigonocephaly occurs when the joint that connects the two halves of the front of the forehead fuse earlier than normal. The early fusion results in a ridge in the middle of the forehead and hollowed sides, which can restrict brain growth. It is thought that between 1 in 2,000 and 2,500 children are born with this condition. A simple surgery is offered to correct this. A strip of bone in the forehead is removed and then a helmet is worn for several months which guides the babies 'elastic' skull into a regular shape.
The image here shows the yellow-coloured forehead region pre-operation which shows how the head bends outwards. However, 24 months after the surgery, the same region is now coloured green and blue, showing the flattening that occurred. Photo by Ahmed Elawadly

More great images on BBC Science Focus:

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Shortlisted - The beauty of 3D protein structures

'The Beauty of 3D Protein Structures' was entered by Dr Lara Menzies, Clinical geneticist at GOSH. This image shows the predicted 3D structure of DEPDC5, a protein which is important for brain function. The twist and turning shapes that make up the protein are chains of amino acids. Proteins are fundamental structures within all the cells in our bodies - they play an essential role in how our bodies work and are sometimes described as the building blocks of life. If the shape of these proteins' changes, then it could stop being able to perform its function. Lara's team recently identified a gene alteration which results in a change to the amino acid highlighted in pink in the DEPDC5 protein. This amino acid change has been identified as an underlying cause for a severe form of genetic epilepsy
This image shows the predicted 3D structure of DEPDC5, a protein important for brain function. The twist and turning shapes that make up the protein are chains of amino acids. Proteins are fundamental structures within all the cells in our bodies. They play an essential role in how our bodies work and are sometimes described as the building blocks of life. If the shape of these proteins changes, then this could prevent them from performing their function. Photo by Dr Lara Menzies

Shortlisted - My spine?

'My spine?' was entered by Professor Faith Gibson, Deputy Chief Nurse for Research, Nursing and Allied Health. This is a photo from “There is a Light: BRIGHTLIGHT” – a research based theatrical performance, with a cast of young people – some of whom had previously been diagnosed with cancer. BRIGHTLIGHT was a national evaluation looking at whether specialist cancer services for teenagers and young people add value. Over 1,000 young people contributed to the research which was then interpreted and performed by the theatre group, Contact Young Company. The aim of which was to share research findings in a more dynamic, diverse, and accessible way. Photo by
This is a photo from 'There is a Light: BRIGHTLIGHT', a research-based theatrical performance, with a cast of young people – some of whom had previously been diagnosed with cancer. BRIGHTLIGHT was a national evaluation looking at whether specialist cancer services for teenagers and young people add value. Over 1,000 young people contributed to the research which was then interpreted and performed by the theatre group, Contact Young Company. The aim of this was to share research findings in a more dynamic, diverse, and accessible way. Photo by Professor Faith Gibson

Shortlisted - Cholesteatoma

'Cholesteatoma' was submitted by Jan Sedlacik, MRI Physicist at GOSH. This is an image of the middle ear structure generated by both CT and MRI scanning techniques. The red structure is a cholesteatoma – a destructive and cell growth in the middle ear that needs to be surgically removed in order to maintain hearing and balance.  CT scanning provides surgeons with necessary detail about the bone structures that surround the growth, but these scans do not accurately highlight the growth itself, which can only be seen with diffusion weighted MRI. Using a combination of these two techniques, as in this image, helps show the red cholesteatoma within the detailed grey bone structure, so that it can be removed as safely as possible. Photo by
This is an image of the middle ear structure generated by both CT and MRI scanning techniques. The red structure is a cholesteatoma, a destructive cell growth in the middle ear that needs to be surgically removed in order to maintain hearing and balance. 
CT scanning provides surgeons with necessary detail about the bone structures that surround the growth, but these scans do not accurately highlight the growth itself, which can only be seen with diffusion-weighted MRI. Using a combination of these two techniques, as in this image, helps show the red cholesteatoma within the detailed grey bone structure, so that it can be removed as safely as possible. Photo by Jan Sedlacik

Shortlisted - Finding patterns in data

'Finding patterns in data' was submitted by John Booth, Data Analyst at GOSH. This complex network is a visual representation of a group of patients on an immunosuppressant called Basilixmab – a drug help prevents immediate rejection of a donated organ after transplant. The connecting lines show all the other medications these patients are taking over a period of 14 days. Large datasets like this can help us to spot patterns within groups of patients. John's team hope that understanding these patterns will help clinicians better predict clinical outcomes and therefore improve patient care. Photo by
This complex network is a visual representation of a group of patients on an immunosuppressant called Basilixmab, a drug that helps to prevent immediate rejection of a donated organ after transplant. The connecting lines show all the other medications these patients are taking over a period of 14 days. Large datasets like this can help us to spot patterns within groups of patients. Photo by John Booth

Authors

James CutmorePicture Editor, BBC Science Focus

James Cutmore is the picture editor of BBC Science Focus Magazine, researching striking images for the magazine and on the website. He is also has a passion for taking his own photographs

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