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2018 BMC ‘Research in progress’ photo competition showcases stunning images from science and research

A stunning MRI-image of a mouse kidney, entitled ‘Kidney Rainbow’ is the winner of the second annual BMC ‘Research in progress’ photo competition. From striking microscopy images, to researchers at work, and the various forms of life they investigate, the competition received submissions that reflect the innovative spirit, curiosity and integrity of research in progress around the world. All images are open access and available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. 

The overall winning image by Nian Wang at the Center for In Vivo Microcopy, Duke University, USA, has been obtained by diffusion tensor imaging, an MRI-based imaging technique. It shows a mouse kidney, the bright neon colors representing the orientation of different tubules, which collect filtrate from blood passing through the kidney and process it into urine.

Nian Wang said: “It’s my great honor to receive this award. The image shows the complex 3D tubular structures of a mouse kidney. It was taken at the Center for In Vivo Microscopy (Directed by Prof. G. Allan Johnson), where our research focuses on developing novel MRI methods to detect tissue microstructures. The non-destructive nature of MRI and its ability to assess the renal microstructure in 3D make it a promising tool to understand the complex structures of the renal system.”

Rachel Burley, Publishing Director, BMC and SpringerOpen, said: “The as yet unseen detail and striking colours in this image very much appealed to our judges. For us, it demonstrates the ability of science and research to offer new perspectives on aspects of life that are familiar to everyone but whose details are still being explored, leading to fascinating new discoveries. It also shows how unexpected beauty can be revealed almost as a side-effect of a researcher’s main work.”

The runner up by An-Lun Chin, at the Brain Research Center, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, entitled ‘Synchrotron x-ray tomographic 3D reconstruction of the Drosophila brain circuitry structure,’ is a high-resolution 3D reconstruction of a Drosophila head, showing the nervous system, muscles, cuticles, and visual sensory system. Drosophila melanogaster is a species of fly, known generally as the common fruit fly. It is widely used for biological research.

Rachel Burley said: “Drosophila melanogaster will, of course, be familiar to researchers as a model organism and to people more generally as a common pest in homes, restaurants, and other places where food is served. Our judges felt that the image by An-Lun Chin shines a new light on this commonly known species by giving us a look inside its head.”

The winner was chosen from 373 entries and a total of fifteen images – including the winner, runner-up, two highly commended and eleven special mentions – were chosen for visual appeal, as well as originality, photo quality, creativity and composition. They reflect the variety of research published in BMC’s over 300 open access journals and are available to journalists.

Rachel Burley said: “The BMC ‘Research in progress’ photo competition was created to celebrate the innovative and progressive spirit of the research community, as seen from the perspective of scientists, researchers, and authors.  In 2018, BMC started expanding its portfolio of journals beyond biology and medicine, and this will continue in 2019. The variety and range of the images submitted to our competition reflects our commitment to advancing discovery, as we and our communities move forward together in the new year.”


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Notes to editor:

1.  A blog announcing the winners can be found here.

If you are writing for the web, please link to the blog.
2.    A pioneer of open access publishing, BMC has an evolving portfolio of high quality peer-reviewed journals including broad interest titles such as BMC Biology and BMC Medicine, specialist journals such as Malaria Journal and Microbiome, and the BMC series. At BMC, research is always in progress. We are committed to continual innovation to better support the needs of our communities, ensuring the integrity of the research we publish, and championing the benefits of open research. BMC is part of Springer Nature, giving us greater opportunities to help authors connect and advance discoveries across the world.