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Scientific Photography

We are delighted to share the winning masterpieces in the 2020 Centenary Institute Scientific Image Prize.

These images are created by our researchers as they strive to better understand diseases in their quest to find cures.

Top three in judged category

2020 Scientific Image Prize judged by Annette Larkin from Annette Larkin Fine Art. We extend our thanks and appreciation to Annette.


First Prize Winner
Image title:
Día de Muertos
Scientist: Kieran English
Laboratory: Liver Immunology Program

Description: The image shows the microscopic structure of a major blood vessel of the liver known as a hepatic portal tract. The title is inspired by its resemblance to the calavera makeup associated with the Mexican holiday and a celebration of laboratory mice that are sacrificed to increase our understanding of the human body, leading to the development of life saving drugs and the curing of disease.

Judge’s Comments: Wonderful sense of colour the mice’s liver can have! I loved the unbalanced construction of this image – the dark void on the right surrounded by a clever and dramatic use of reds, pinks, white and green. The scientist’s interpretation of the image resembling a figure seen at the Mexican Day of the Dead was insightful when they paralleled this to the sadness they felt for the mice that are sacrificed on a daily basis for the advancement of human health.

Second Prize Winner
Image title:
Cellular Abstract Squish
Scientist: Kathy On
Laboratory: Immune Imaging Program

Description: This image is inspired by butterfly squish paintings which, we use to teach kids all about pattern and symmetry. Within this image the different colours and shapes represent different types of immune cells but, can also be used to depict the different spots, dots, blobs and patterns made by paint on one side of the painting before being folded in half to create the other. However, unlike normal squish paintings, this one is not completely symmetrical and slightly abstract. This is to depict the sudden bursts of spontaneity that is common in both art and science.

Judge’s Comments: The scientist described this as a Squish painting, but for me it was more like a Rorschach test, where I began to psychologically assess the scientist!! With a sunny use of colour, I gave them a positive analysis. It also reminded me of the unfocussed vision you view when looking through to a beautiful green landscape through a frosted window covered with rain.

Third Prize Winner
Image title:
Rising from the Crypts
Scientist: Jade Boland
Laboratory: Liver Injury and Cancer Program

Description: This is an image of where the gallbladder and liver meet. The strong ribbon of red is the outer lining of the gallbladder. The pink and green openings are crypts within the gallbladder. To me, these portals look as though they are moving like a lava lamp. This image is a double positive, as I can see my antibody on red has stained cells in the gallbladder (my positive control) and in the liver (my final target).

Judge’s Comments: I really do hope I have a pink and purple liver and gallbladder. It never ceases to amaze me how precise the scientists are with the colouration of each cell in one tiny cross-section. The lava-lamp analogy is perfect, and with the dramatic contrast of the black, the scene is set for some antibody action.

Additional prizes

Staff Pic (voted by Centenary staff)
Image title:
Broken Heart
Scientists: Seakcheng Lim and Mira Holliday
Laboratory: Molecular Cardiology Program

Description: Our team’s ultimate goal is to understand inherited heart disease and to improve patient’s lives. With a blood sample from one of our patients, we turned their blood cells into beating heart cells in the laboratory to look at under the microscope.

People’s Choice (voted by the public)
Image title:
Tubulin Bands
Scientist: Angelina Lay
Laboratory: ACRF Centenary Cancer Research Centre

Description: Platelets are the key effector cells that initiate a blood clot in response to vessel injury. The platelets in this image have been stained for tubulin, one of the major protein’s of the platelet structure.