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Beauty and Brains: Award-Winning Medical Images

Living Brain

A photo of a living brain.

(Image credit: ROBERT LUDLOW, UCL INSTITUTE OF NEUROLOGY, LONDON; WELLCOME TRUST)

This image of a living human brain taken during surgery won the 2012 Wellcome Trust Award for biomedical photography.

Loperamide Crystals

Scanning electron micrograph of loperamide crystals.

(Image credit: Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy | Wellcome Trust)

This false-coloured scanning electron micrograph shows crystals of loperamide, which is a drug used to treat diarrhea; loperamide works by slowing down the movement of the intestine and reducing the speed at which the contents of the gut pass through. Food remains in the intestines for longer and water can be more effectively absorbed back into the body. This results in firmer stools that are passed less often.

Microneedle Vaccine

scanning electron micrograph of microneedles

(Image credit: Peter DeMuth | Wellcome Trust)

This scanning electron micrograph shows an array of 'microneedles' made from a biodegradable polymer. Researchers have shown these materials can be used to deliver vaccines and therapeutics to the outer layers of the skin in a safe and painless way.

Desmid Alga

a photo of a type of green alga called a desmid

(Image credit: Spike Walker | Wellcome Trust)

This photomicrograph shows Micrasterias, a type of green alga called a desmid, which usually inhabits the acidic waters associated with peat bogs. These particular desmids are flat, plate-like single cells made up of two halves, which are mirror images of each other with highly ornamented edges.

Cool Connective Tissue

connective tissue from the knee

(Image credit: Anne Weston, LRI, CRUK | Wellcome Trust)

This false-colored scanning electron micrograph shows connective tissue removed from a human knee during arthroscopic surgery. Individual fibers of collagen can be distinguished and have been highlighted by the creator using a variety of colors.