Wellcome Image Awards 2017

Credit: Spooky Pooka

A digital illustration portraying a personal experience of Crohn’s disease is the overall winner of the Wellcome Image Awards 2017.

‘Stickman – The Vicissitudes of Crohn’s (Resolution)’ is a striking computer-generated image which conveys the physical and emotional experience of Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition caused by inflammation of the digestive system.

It is part of a series incorporating Stickman, the alter ego of illustrator Spooky Pooka (Oliver), who has the disease.

‘Stickman’ is one of 22 winning images that showcase the best in science image making.

Fergus Walsh, BBC Medical Correspondent and a member of the judging panel, said: “This image is a stunning representation of what it must be like to have Crohn’s disease. It’s like nothing I’ve seen before in terms of the portrayal of someone’s condition: it conveys the pain and torment the sufferer must go through. The image really resonates and is beautifully composed: it’s a haunting piece.

The awards have been held annually since 1997 to reward contributors to the Wellcome Images collection for their outstanding work.

To find out more and to see all the winning images, follow this link to the Wellcome Image Awards 2017

New galleries at National Museum of Scotland

Dolly the sheep

A visit to the National Museum of Scotland is an interesting and fun day out for all the family if you are in Edinburgh.

Ten new galleries have recently opened following a £14.1 million redevelopment. The opening includes six science and technology galleries – the UK’s most comprehensive outside London.

The state-of-the-art galleries feature objects covering more than 250 years of enquiry and innovation and were partially funded by a 1.3 million grant from Wellcome. The subjects covered include:

•    the science of genetics with Dolly the sheep
•    developing new pharmaceuticals
•    advances in prosthetics and body implants

Simon Chaplin, Wellcome’s Director of Culture and Society, said: “Scotland has been and remains a global leader in medicine and bioscience, and Wellcome is proud to support the new galleries at the National Museum of Scotland which reflect this history of world-class research and innovation.”

The world’s first full-body MRI scanner will be included in the display at the museum. This was developed at the University of Aberdeen through the 1970s and is now part of our Museums’ collection.

This project is supported by Wellcome, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government, as well as other major trusts, foundations and nearly 800 generous individual donors.


World TB Day 2015: what next for prevention and treatment?

Wellcome Trust Blog


TB remains a global problem with 1.5 million deaths and 9 million cases per year. On World TB Day, Wellcome Trust Senior Science Portfolio Developer Marta Tufet looks back at the history of TB prevention and treatment, explains what the Wellcome Trust is doing to support research in this area, and asks what more needs to be done to make an impact on this stubborn disease…

At 13 I moved to France mid-school term and mid-TB vaccination campaign. All the kids were lined up at the school’s gym and one by one a nurse inserted a needle into our forearms – the Tuberculin skin test to see whether we would mount a localised immune response, an indication that there had been exposure to the bacteria. To this day the memory remains vivid – not speaking a word of French at the time, it presented an excellent communication opportunity. I eagerly…

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Diagnosing Ebola in Sierra Leone

Wellcome Trust Blog

sierra leone

Wellcome-funded virologist Professor Ian Goodfellow is usually based in the Division of Virology at the University of Cambridge, but he recently took a break from his usual research to travel to Sierra Leone and help out at an Ebola diagnostic facility. In the first of a two-part series, he tells us about his experiences in an Ebola diagnostics facility in Sierra Leone and what more needs to be done to get the current epidemic under control…

What is your day job? Tell us a bit about your research…

Ian gfMy main research focus is virus-host interactions, focusing primarily on noroviruses, the major cause of gastroenteritis in the developed world. We’ve used a variety of approaches to try to understand the viral life cycle and more recently have taken the first steps towards the identification of therapeutic approaches for the control of norovirus infection in patients. My interests have recently spread into…

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“I just can’t get you out of my head” – musical hallucinations and Phantom Voices

Wellcome Trust Blog


Most of us can recall familiar music in our heads; some of us can imagine original music. But when that musical imagination spills over into musical intrusions, earworms or hallucinations, the experience can be disorientating at best, and at worst frightening. Recipients of a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, vocal ensemble The Clerks, present a new performance piece entitled ‘Phantom Voices’, a provocative take on the phenomenon of musical hallucinations. Edward Wickham, who devised the project, explains more…

Many of us experience what might be called ‘musical imaginings’ in the form of the everyday phenomenon of the ‘earworm’ which has led to surveys concluding, unsurprisingly, that Kylie Minogue’s “I just can’t get you out of my head” is a leading contender. But there is much greater range: from the musician or composer who is capable of controlling and manipulating her musical imaginings, through to the person who hears music as if…

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Image of the Week: Lung Cancer Cells

Wellcome Trust Blog

B0006883 Lung cancer cells

This Image of the Week was written by Alice Sheehan.

This month is lung cancer awareness month, which aims to raise the profile of one of the world’s biggest cancer killers.

Cancer is a condition where cells in a part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. Cancer cells invade healthy tissue disrupting their functions or killing them and can for example limit an organs blood supply. Cancer can occur due to a combination of different factors; however some types which have been linked to lifestyle, such as kidney and liver cancers, are becoming more common in some populations.

Our image of the week is of a lung cancer cell in the latter stages of cell division. During cell division a single cell duplicates its genetic information and then splits to form two separate cells. In the image, the two ‘daughter cells’ have nearly separated completely from each other, with only…

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Image of the week: ‘ferning’ saliva

Wellcome Trust Blog

B0008610 Human saliva displaying ferning

The beautiful branching structure of these crystal formations may remind you of minature ferns. If so, you aren’t alone – our image this week depicts of a phenomenon known as “ferning”!  What you are looking at here is a microscope image of human saliva.

The ferning pattern of crystallization is used to identify when a woman is at their most fertile period in the menstrual cycle. The oestrogen spike during a woman’s most fertile period causes salt crystals to form in her saliva, creating this pattern when magnified.

Although studies suggest that the reliability of this as a measure of ovulation is relatively weak, research  has begun to investigate specific substances found in saliva during ovulation, creating potential for a non-invasive diagnostic marker for ovulation. Knowing when ovulation occurs is important in IVF and other fertility treatments, but the best methods currently involve taking blood or ultrasounds.

Saliva ferning has also been investigated as…

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