Skip to content

Wellcome Image Award Winner


We have another image that is an award winner, this time from the Wellcome Image Awards in the UK.  Image authors are Jefferson Brown, Robert Marc and myself from the Moran Eye Center, University of Utah and Glen Prusky and Nazia Alam from Weill Cornell Medical College.

This image was analyzed using tools called Computational Molecular Phenotyping (CMP) that reveal the metabolic state of the all cell types in tissues.

This image only exists in computational space and represents a section through the kidney from a mus musculus probed with antibodies to three small molecular labels from Signature Immunologics.  Anti-aspartic acid as red, anti-glutathione as green and anti-glutamine as blue.  Aspartic acid is a metabolic link between amino acid and energy metabolism while glutathione is important in mechanisms that reduce oxidative damage. Glutamine is a molecular buffer or storehouse for amino acid carbon skeletons for storage and distribution of amino groups to other molecules.

The technologies were designed for exploring retinal tissues, but all cell classes in tissues have unique combinations of metabolic signatures that identify metabolic states that are unique to them in both health and disease states providing powerful biometric discriminators.

The whole point behind CMP is that we can do this in N-space or use N labels to look at co-segregation of small molecular signals. We commonly look at 7-12 probes at once for instance, but they are difficult to show in traditional rgb images.  The use of advanced clustering approaches is important because with the image above, we had 9 separate probes that we used on this dataset.  That means, according to this formula (n+r-1)!/r!(n-1)!, there are 165 different ways to combine probes into 3 color datasets for visualization.  With 12 separate probes, that is 364 different combinations and 24 separate probes opens this up to 2,600 different potential 3-color combinations.  In short, tissues are far more complex than previously understood and these technologies allow us to reveal those metabolic complexities.

This image along with all of the other Wellcome Image Award winners will be shown at Bristol, the Cambridge Science Centre, the Dundee Science Centre, the Glasgow Science Centre, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, the Aberdeen Science Centre, at Techniquest in Cardiff, at The Eden Project in Cornwall, The University of Texas Medical Branch at GalvestonW5 in Belfast and will also be displayed in the window of the Wellcome Trust headquarters in London as well as be on display at the Koch Institute at MIT for display in March.

This work was funded through a number of resources including Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award, NIH EY02576, NIH EY015128, NIH EY014800, and an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness

Coverage of this year’s Wellcome Image Awards has been extensive and international.
Observer  (updated 19/03)

Print 08/03
BBC Online

Syndicated The Conversation

Mail Online
New Scientist Print – 12/03

Online gallery ran 19/03

Featuring fruit fly nerve cells, April edition
The Conversation  (syndicated widely)
BMJ Print – 28/02
Microscopy & analysis
DIY Photography
Ars Technica
Culture 24
Wired US
Washington Post

Print expected – 24 March
Mashable Syndicated Conversation:

Monsters and Critics
The Verge
Mental Floss
UK REGIONAL (small selection – mostly Manchester)
Manchester Evening News
About Manchester

The Times, Scotland Print
Daily Mail Scotland Print
OTHER INTERNATIONAL (small selection)
El Pais (spain)
BBC Mundo (Spain)
Le Tempsélection_des_plus_belles_et_bizarres_images_de_sciences
IB Times
Gizmodo India Io9 syndication

Toronto Sun
French huffington post
Post Awards (18/03/2015)
Evening Standard Print 19/03

New Scientist
BBC Focus

print due April
Medium (US)
Creative Review Print – due late March
Washington Post Print due 24 March
Wired Print – due April 5
Der Spiegel Print – due late March


Categories: Art of Science, Science.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comment Feed

No Responses (yet)

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.