Wellcome Images Award 2014 Goes to 3D Mechanical Heart Pump Scan

A 3D image of a mechanical heart pump inside a patient's chest has won the Wellcome Image Awards 2014. The image was created by Swedish scientist Anders Persson using a new type of scan known as dual energy computed tomography (DECT) angiography, in which a patient is scanned using two sources of X-rays at different energies. These are then digitally reconstructed in three dimensions and can be rotated, sliced or magnified for greater clarity.

BBC medical correspondent Fergus Walsh said: "Anders Persson's 3D image of a mechanical heart fitted inside a human chest is truly stunning. The juxtaposition of delicate human anatomy with the robust mechanical plumbing parts is dramatic, and the image is rendered so vividly in 3D that it appears to jump out at the viewer."

Mechanical heart pump in the thorax, DECTAnders Persson

The Wellcome Image Awards celebrate the best in science imaging talent and techniques. Other finalists included scanning electron micrographs of a kidney stone and a headlouse egg, an X-ray of a bat, a 3D computed tomography image of a seal skull and a cross section of a flower bud.


Walsh added: "As always, this year's entries are both technically brilliant and visually spectacular. Never before have I thought of a kidney stone or a nit as beautiful but the Wellcome Image Awards show time and again that there can always be a different way of looking at things."

The winning images will be displayed at four major science venues as well as in a window display at the Wellcome Trust's headquarters in London. Glasgow Science Centre, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, Techniquest in Cardiff and W5 in Belfast will all host simultaneous exhibitions, and there will be a display at the Ruskin Gallery at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge during the Cambridge Science Festival.

Zebrafish embryoAnnie Cavanagh
Nerve fibres in a healthy adult human brain, MRIZeynep M. Saygin, McGovern Institute, MIT
Headlouse egg attached to a strand of hair, SEMKevin Mackenzie, University of Aberdeen
Kidney stone, SEMKevin Mackenzie, University of Aberdeen
Brown long-eared bat, x-rayChris Thorn xrayartdesign.co.uk
Agricultural sludge sampleEberhardt Josué Friedrich Kernahan and Enrique Rodríguez Cañas
Arabidopsis thaliana flower, SEMStefan Eberhard
Breast cancer cells treated with nano sized drug carriersKhuloud T. Al-Jamal & Izzat Suffian
Deer tick embedded in skin of legAshley Prytherch, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Seal, CTAnders Persson
Medieval human mandible (lower jawbone)Kevin Mackenzie, University of Aberdeen
Lilium flower budSpike Walker
CIGS, semiconductor on thin film solar/photovoltaic cellsEberhardt Josué Friedrich Kernahan and Enrique Rodríguez Cañas
Astrantia major 'Hadspen Blood'Dr Henry Oakeley
Human heart (aortic valve) tissue displaying calcificationSergio Bertazzo, Department of Materials, Imperial College London
Lagena speciesSpike Walker
Oxidised Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) crystalsSpike Walker

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