The Best Medical Photos of the Year

Scientific shots that just might change your definition of "masterpiece"

Silkworm Trachea

This shot of a silkworm’s trachea was named one of the year’s best medical images by the Wellcome Trust. See the entire collection in this gallery.

Bioinformatics: Gene Expression Analysis

Using mathematics, computer science and statistics researchers can use bioinformatics to visualize gene expression studies. In this case, each dot represents a gene—lines are expression patterns between genes.

Breast Cancer Cell

Color-enhanced shot of a breast cancer cell

Clostridium Difficile

Color-enhanced image of the bacteria Clostridium difficile.

Colon Cancer Cells

Color-enhanced image of colon cancer cells.

Plasmid DNA

Part of a study to see whether mineral sheets could protect plasmid DNA against extreme conditions (such as those found near hydrothermal vents). If so, it would give credence to the possibility that life originated there.

E. Coli

Pretty picture, ugly subject. The E. coli bacteria (bright red dots) enters the lower intestine, and breaks apart the (blue) waterproof barriers—the cause of diarrhea.

Mid-Gestation Mouse Embryo

A mouse embryo at 11.5 days.

Fly

Color-enhanced image of a fly standing on sugar crystals.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Inside an HIV particle. Red capsid, the virus’s protein shell, surrounds the core RNA. Blue represents the membrane.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Inside an HIV particle. Red capsid, the virus’s protein shell, surrounds the core RNA. Blue represents the membrane.

Neisseria Meningitidis

The Neisseria meningitidis bacteria (yellow) inside human airway cells. The bacteria best known for its role in meningitis.

Ribosome

A molecular model of a bacterial ribosome. Different colors represent different RNA and protein components.

Neural Stem Cells

Neural stem cells (in green) from a mouse transplanted into the brain of a newborn mouse. There they transform into, among others, axon-insulating oligodendrocytes.

Blood Vessel Forming

New blood vessels forming in a retina. The “roots” of the existing blood vessels spread and connect to form new ones.

Prostate Cancer Cells

Color-enhanced image of prostate cancer cells.

Red Blood Cells

Human blood is a cocktail of proteins, salt, platelets, and red and white blood cells perfectly engineered to deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout the body with precision and efficiency.

Ruptured Blood Vessel

Red blood cells drip out of a broken blood vessel (in blue). A mutation in the ephrinB2 gene weakens blood vessels, making them more susceptible to rupturing.

Seminiferous Tubule

Sperm developing in a seminiferous tubule—tails are pointing towards the center of the tubule.

Villi

Villi inside a human small intestine. Their finger-like shape increase the intestine’s surface area and its ability to absorb food.

Vitamin C

Crystals of oxidized vitamin C. One of the vitamin’s benefits is that in its oxidized state it is stable and unreactive.