Science as Art: Cell Visualization Competition

Hi – My name is Nick Thomas, and I am a Principal Scientist at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, working at our site in Cardiff, in the UK.

I was driving up to Heathrow this morning and thinking about colours. At this time of year the contrasting and luminous mix of green and red leaves against the rich blue sky bring a welcome pleasure to the journey. I was also thinking about the cell images I’d been looking at on my computer screen before leaving the lab; a very different but equally beautiful and inspiring mix of blues, greens and reds.

For me the autumn always brings the pleasure and interest of reviewing and judging the entries to our IN Cell Analyzer Image Competition, and like previous occasions this year’s images span a wide range of biologies from stem cells to parasites. It never fails to amaze me what people do with the technologies we develop.

Sorting through the images always brings me inspiration on two levels. As a cell biologist I’m learning new things from the analyses that people are running on their instruments and how these investigations bring them better understanding of biology and improve drug discovery. As a photographer I’m intrigued and fascinated by the tones, hues, shapes and textures in the images, from the linear abstract forms of cytoskeletal architecture or neurones captured in high resolution, to the swirling colours and nebulous impressionistic patterns of differentiating stem cell cultures imaged at low magnification. I’m sure an art expert could draw more parallels. Me, I just find them beautiful.

This year we’ve shortlisted 30 images and we need your help to find the winner.  You can vote on which image is your favourite by visiting   Below are last year’s winning images so you can get an idea of what to expect when you go to vote.  Beautiful, aren’t they?  As in previous competitions we will be getting the public excited about the “science as art” concept by displaying the winning images on the large advertising screens in Times Square, New York.  Whether it is their magnificent colours or the inspiring medical advancements that they represent, we hope that you find these images as beautiful as we do.  We appreciate your votes and thank you to the entrants to this year’s competition.


2010 Winners:





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