Feature | January 26, 2015

British Heart Foundation Competition Offers Breath-taking Images

All images were part of research funded by BHF

clinical trial/study, stem cell therapies, BHF

The banding seen in this microscopic view of heart muscle cells is vital for the contraction of the muscle that is needed for the heart to beat. BHF-funded scientists can now make heart cells from stem cells and study how changes in this banding can lead to the heart not beating properly.

clinical trial/study, stem cell therapies, No Smoke without Fire, Dr. Futton

This picture is a blood vessel that does not work properly and is leaking. The blood vessel is seen in red, with the leaks seen in grey. Maintaining healthy blood vessels is vital to prevent cardiovascular disease.

clinical trial/study, stem cell therapies, mouse retina

This image shows the intricate network of newly-formed blood vessels in the retina of a mouse eye. Understanding how blood vessels grow is an important part of understanding cardiovascular disease.

This image shows the intricate network of newly-formed blood vessels in the retina of a mouse eye. Understanding how blood vessels grow is an important part of understanding cardiovascular disease.

This image shows the intricate network of newly-formed blood vessels in the retina of a mouse eye. Understanding how blood vessels grow is an important part of understanding cardiovascular disease.

This image shows the intricate network of newly-formed blood vessels in the retina of a mouse eye. Understanding how blood vessels grow is an important part of understanding cardiovascular disease.

January 26, 2015 — The British Heart Foundation (BHF) announced the winners of its annual ‘Reflections of Research’ image competition – reflecting the charity’s research into heart and circulatory diseases.

The Judges’ Winner, “The Clot Thickens”, could easily be mistaken for an underwater coral reef, but is actually a detailed view of a blood clot – the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.

Reflections of Research, Judges’ Winner  – “The Clot Thickens”, by Fraser Macrae, the Reflections of Research Judges’ Winner, a BHF-funded researcher in the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds.

This image shows a blood clot in close detail. The thick grey mesh is the clot, capturing a mixture of different cells – seen in different colors. A BHF-funded researcher in the 1970s was the first to prove that clots can cause heart attacks. A black and white image was first produced using a scanning electron microscope and then the different types of cells were highlighted in different colors. Red blood cells are seen in red, platelets in turquoise and an assortment of white blood cells are shown in purple, blue, green and yellow.

Macrae’s research aims to better understand how clots are formed in the body. Alongside colleagues at the University of Leeds, he wants to work out why people with heart and circulatory disease have unusual clot structures that makes clots harder to break down. If researchers can find a way to make people form more normal clots this could lead to benefits in the prevention and treatment of heart and circulatory disease.

Macrae commented: “I am an artist as well as a scientist and I wanted to share this remarkable image to highlight the unexpected beauty that can be found in research. I am incredibly happy to have won - all the entries this year have been amazing and really reflect the great research the BHF is funding.”

Reflections of Research Supporters’ Favorite - “Lifelines”, by Francesco Iori, a BHF-funded researcher at Imperial College London.

This image has been created using the same computer modelling programs that engineers use to design airplanes. This is one way that BHF-funded scientists can now precisely model the blood flow in our blood vessels.

People with kidney failure need regular dialysis, and doctors must connect a tube from the dialysis machine into the patient’s bloodstream. Current dialysis techniques disrupt the patient’s natural blood flow, which can lead to the vein blocking or even collapsing. lori’s research looks into better ways to make the connection between the patient and the machine. If successful, this research could significantly improve the quality of life and outcomes for patients with kidney failure on dialysis.

Reflections of Research provides a glimpse into the cutting edge research that the BHF funds. Modern technology allows scientists to image the body in unprecedented detail and provide new insights into ways to prevent and treat heart and circulatory disease.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the BHF commented:

“The breath-taking image of a blood clot gives insight into important processes that affect our risk of developing, and recovery from, heart and circulatory diseases like heart attack and stroke. From micro bio-engineering to help cells assemble and build tissue, through to bringing techniques from aircraft design to examine flow patterns in blood vessels, these stunning images show how we’re now able to see inside the body in intricate detail. These unique insights help us to better understand and research heart and circulatory diseases.”

Jasmine Pradissitto, M.D., judge of Reflections of Research and Quantum artist commented:

“When combined, art and science can help us see things in a way that words alone can rarely match. The heart is both incredibly strong and inherently fragile and, because of images like these, we can learn more about how the heart works and how to fix it when things go wrong.”

For more information: www.bhf.org.uk/reflections



 

 

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