BMC “Research in Progress” photo competition: the winning images

Today we announce the winning entries of our BMC “Research in progress” photography competition. In this blog you can see the winning image, the runner up and handful of other stunning entries.


Earlier this year we proudly announced that BioMed Central is becoming BMC. Firmly believing that our research communities share our enthusiasm for innovation, science and progress we launched our first ever “Research in progress” photography competition. We asked you to send us inspiring images reflecting curiosity, integrity and innovation across four categories: people at work, close-ups of equipment, plants and animals and microscopy, and you certainly didn’t disappoint.

So without further ado, here is our winning image, the runner up and a selection of images that caught the eyes of our judging panel of editors and designers.

Winning image

“I Heart Research”
Sarah Boyle, Centre for Cancer Biology, Adelaide, South Australia.

This photo shows a fluorescently labeled mouse mammary tumor produced by scientists studying the progression of breast cancer. The red color labels the active form of a protein, as cancer develops the levels of this protein may increase.

Speaking to us about her entry, Sarah said: “I’m delighted that the image I submitted has been selected as the winner. I took it as part of my research into breast cancer and for me it really shows how processes that we researchers use almost on a daily basis – such as fluorescent labeling and microscopy – can reveal stunning shapes and colors in things like human cells.”

Runner up

“The Power of Life”
Yuan Xiao Wei

This photo shows cucumber seeds growing in a petri dish. This experiment tests how well seeds germinate and how fast they are likely to grow and establish crops, which are important factors in cucumber breeding.

Selected images

Face of Captivity
Lauren Gaynor

“While traveling Sweden, I visited a small zoo in the mountains; this is where I came across this magnificent bear and her cubs. She had such an intense stare with curiosity and fear in her eyes, she was beautiful. I hope one day she will know what it is like to be free.”

Syringe Fear
Pashupati Shrestha

A dengue-suspected child has their blood sampled in the Microbiology/Pathology lab of Ratnanagar Hospital, Nepal. Taken in 2016 amidst epidemicity.

Night Sky on Planet Acetaminophen
Karl Gaff

“This image is actually a sliver of a thin film of acetaminophen, commonly known as Paracetamol, imaged to a microscope configured for polarised light. The stars in the background are really just out water droplets that lie in a different focal plane.”

Double Butterflies
Jianing (贾宁)

Butterflies, energy-saving.

Thousand spores
Maria Pia Mannucci

“It is hard to stay away from moulds. They follow you from the petri dishes in your lab to the shelves of your fridge at home. It was here that I saw this one on the reddish background of a decaying tomato. I thought that it was worth of a macro shot before deciding if it deserved a role in research too.”

A section of human skin cancer using a stain developed by the author
Hayfaa A. AL-Shammary

“I have discovered a new stain for detection the mitotic activity in cancers, all the colors in this image are made by my stain. The nucleus with mitotic activity had been stained by black color, the cytoplasm with yellow color and the collagen fibers stained with pink color. This stain colored the epithelia yellow and stroma pink. You can also see the nucleus with mitotic activity colored by black color in both epithelial and connective tissue.”

Eliseth Ribeiro Leão

“This photo is part of research entitled ‘e-Nature: validation of images of nature for clinical use in hospital setting.’ It is a methodological study to validate the images, as well as to know the valence and arousal ratings of each type of image. The study will be complemented by a randomized clinical trial on the impact of nature imaging on states of mood and adverse events of chemotherapy in cancer patients.”

We want to say a huge congratulations to the two winners and a massive thank you to all those who entered. Our judges were astounded by both the volume and quality of the submissions.

All images have been released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License, so everyone is welcome and encouraged to share them freely, while attributing the image author.


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مها الملاك

Thanks for your cooperation and we will interested to share with you next time.good luck for all winners

PHRN Chhattisgarh, India

Congratulations to all the winners!
We had received an email from BMC informing us that our entry ‘Research by the brook’ has been chosen in the Special Selection category. However, no further information has been provided regarding posting of the photo on the website etc. We kindly request further information as we would like to share it with colleagues and partners. Thank you.

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