Public vote now open for BBSRC’s image competition

Posted by er134 at Oct 16, 2014 01:15 PM |
University of Leicester biologist shortlisted for striking image

Issued by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council on 16 October 2014

Image attached: detailed image of a locust’s wing.  Dark pigmented patches and an intricate tracery of wing veins on the adult forewing form an intriguing pattern in this low power view lit by oblique blue light Copyright Tom Matheson, University of Leicester

The public vote is now open for the BBSRC Images with Impact competition. Anyone can vote for the winning pictures online at

The competition sought images that represented how life sciences are changing the world, in areas like: food, farming, bioenergy, biotech, industry and health.

University of Leicester neurobiologist Dr Tom Matheson, of the Department of Biology,  is among those whose images has been shortlisted.  As part of his BBSRC-funded research into the neuromechanical control of aimed limb movements, the team analysed the development and functions of touch-sensitive hairs on the wings of locusts. Stimulation of these tiny hairs signals the 'target' at which the locust aims a movement of its hind leg.

Dark pigmented patches and an intricate tracery of wing veins on the adult forewing form an intriguing pattern in this low power view lit by oblique blue light. The Leicester research examines how a miniature nervous system can control complex movements, and may provide inspiration for the designers of robotic limbs and prosthetics.

The detailed image of a locust’s wing is among those that people can now vote for.

Tom said: “I took this picture as part of a series to highlight the beautiful patterns of pigmentation and venation on the wings of our desert locusts. The general patterns are pretty consistent from animal to animal but the details are endlessly variable. The subtle gradations and contrasting abrupt shifts in patterns in different regions of the wing make for a fascinating image that reflects complex underlying developmental processes.  Having spent many hours looking at these beautiful structures in the course of our research, I’m delighted to be able to share this image with a wider audience in the BBSRC competition.”

The shortlist has been selected by an esteemed panel of judges. Now the public get their say and can vote for the category winners and runners up.

Great Britain has always been the home of bioscience discovery. Penicillin, the DNA double helix and a famous sheep called 'Dolly' were all born of UK research, but never before has bioscience moved at such a pace.

With this competition we have captured the exciting developments and challenges happening in bioscience today, with images from the Great British public, its students and its researchers.

The three category winners will go on to be shown at the Great British Bioscience Festival in London on 14-16 November where visitors will vote to decide the overall winner. Voting will close on 31 October 2014 so get sharing and voting.

The competition was judged by: James Cutmore, Picture Editor of BBC Focus; Dr Smita Kurup, Head of Bioimaging at Rothamsted Research; David McMahon, Director of Photography for both the MSc Biological Photography & Imaging and The undergraduate program of photography at University of Nottingham; Melanie Welham, Executive Director of Science at BBSRC and Matt Goode, Associate Director, Communications and External Relations at BBSRC.


Hi Res images are here:  High res images here:


BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £467M (2012-2013), we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see:
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see:


Kate Ford | | Digital News Media Assistant |Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Twitter: @KateFord12

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