Images that highlight UCL research have been showcased in an image competition run by Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH).
Researchers from UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, UCL Medical School and GOSH were named the winners of the annual research and innovation image competition - named ‘A Moment of Discovery’.
The winning image, titled ‘A 3D snapshot of the hidden highways in childhood kidney cancer’, is a 3D microscope image of a stained kidney tumour removed after surgery at GOSH. The image show the tumour lymphatic network (coloured blue) that is responsible for draining waste and cells, amongst blood vessels (in magenta) and immune cells (in yellow).
The team who submitted the image includes Dr Daniyal Jafree, Aleksandra Letunovska, Reem Al-Saadi, Dr Dale Moulding (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health), Radu Polschi (UCL Medical School), Dr Tanzina Choudhury, Dr Ciaran Hutchinson and Miss Naima Smeulders (GOSH).
The research, which is led by Professor David Long and Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones (both UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health), focuses on how cancers grow and spread through these vessel networks, with the hope of understanding whether the size of the network can predict how well children respond to chemotherapy, or if these highways influence the likelihood of the cancer spreading.
Structures like lymphatic vessels are incredibly hard to see in their entirety using traditional microscope techniques. However, through collaboration, the team brought their unique skills together to generate this image using a new 3D imaging technique to view the complete lymphatic vessel network within the tumour in high detail, to better understand how cancers can grow and spread.
Dr Daniyal Jafree said: “I’ve been working at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute for Child Health for seven years, and in that time, two things have become very clear. Firstly, it’s so important that we communicate our research to the people we ultimately hope to benefit: patients, their families and the public.
“Secondly, none of our research would be possible without a big team of scientists and clinical professionals, all with different backgrounds and experiences, all sharing the common goal of improving diagnosis and treatment for childhood diseases and cancer.
“The team and I are really pleased that our image, which showcases just how important these two things are to research and innovation, was voted as favourite by the public.”
The competition, run by GOSH and the National Institute for Health and Care Research GOSH Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR GOSH BRC) shortlisted 11 images that offer glimpses into the huge array of research underway at the hospital and its partners to develop better treatments for seriously ill children.
Other images in the top three were also submitted by academics from UCL GOS ICH, including an image showing the cross-section of a stimulated brain used to help study potential treatments for epilepsy in children by Professor Lewis Spitz and PhD candidate Rory Piper, and human nose cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 by Dr Maximillian Woodall and Dr Samuel Ellis alongside Dr Andrea Pinto from Leica Microsystems.
Hundreds of people voted for the winning image on social media.
In celebration of Rare Disease Day, all shortlisted images are being exhibited in the entrance of the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children (ZCR). These are available to view from the street, along with a one-of-a-kind laboratory in a dropped floor that is home to the researchers that work on some of the most rare and complex conditions in children.
The competition was open to staff from across GOSH and its affiliated institutes including the NIHR GOSH BRC and UCL GOS ICH. This year the competition was also opened to children’s hospitals across the UK within the NIHR GOSH BRC Paediatric Excellence Initiative, including Alder Hey, Birmingham and Sheffield.
Professor Thomas Voit, Director of NIHR GOSH UCL Biomedical Research Centre, who was on the panel, said: “These images are stunningly beautiful and vivid reminders of how intricately organised the microcosm of biology is.”