The British Heart Foundation’s Reflections of Research competition hoped to find “the most extraordinary and surprising” views of our heart and blood vessels produced during research funded by the charity.
Announced on 26 July, the image of the year prize went to researchers Gillian Gray, Megan Swim and Harris Morrison of the University of Edinburgh for “The Broken Heart” (above), a three-dimensional view of an adult mouse heart.
The image was captured using optical projection tomography – a special imaging technique which gives insights into the structure of the heart, and how it can become damaged or “broken”.
The winner in the video category was “Criss-cross Heart” (below), by James Wong, Gerald F Greil, Daniel Giese, Sebastian Kozerke, Tobias Schaeffter and Reza Razavi of King’s College London.
This video shows a criss-cross heart, a rare condition affecting people from birth in which rather than pump blood directly downwards, the top chambers of the heart pump incorrectly.
Meanwhile, Jana Koth of the University of Oxford won the Mending Broken Hearts Award, which is especially for images within regenerative medicine research.
“Caught in the Net” (right) shows the developing heart in a two-day old zebrafish, a species that has the ability to repair its own heart after damage, an ability that humans lack.
“Studying [other creatures’] hearts in such fine detail will help us discover their secret so that one day we can repair damaged hearts, and help people with heart failure,” said BHF chief executive, Simon Gillespie.
“This isn’t just visually arresting art; these pictures are reflections of our life-saving research, which makes them even more beautiful,” added Mr Gillespie, who was a judge in the competition alongside James Gallagher, BBC health and science reporter, and BHF medical director Peter Weissberg.
The charity’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal aims to raise £50 million to spend on regenerative medicine research to fight heart failure.
The winning images and videos can be viewed here.