Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Winners of the Medical Research Foundation's second Festive Science Image Competition, run in partnership with the Medical Research Council (MRC), have been announced today.

© Nick Gatford

This annual competition invites Foundation and MRC-funded researchers, staff, and students to produce a science image with direct relevance to medical research, combined with a festive theme. The competition's judges, who work in science, medical research, communications, and public engagement, were looking for eye-catching, high-quality images, along with a clear explanation for non-scientific audiences.

Three winners were selected, with NDCN's Nick Gatford winning second place for his entry 'O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your dendrites!'

'This image shows dopaminergic neurons generated from human stem cells,' says Nick Gatford, a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Tofaris lab. 'Dopaminergic neurons are the main cell type that deteriorates in Parkinson's disease. We use these cells to understand neurodegeneration and develop new drugs to slow their degeneration. The findings from such experiments will provide new Parkinson's disease treatments.'

Nick's image was acquired using a super-resolution microscope 'consisting of multiple tiles stitched together, showing a large area of neuronal connections'. Nick adds: 'An intensity-based filter has been applied to highlight neurons in festive colours, electron microscopy structures of a complete proton pump represent decorations, and the star is a single human neuron.'

The first-place image, by Michaela Raab, PhD student at the MRC Human Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh, will feature on the Medical Research Foundation and MRC's joint Season's Greetings card for 2023. The cards can be ordered online, with a suggested donation to the Foundation.