Vibrant images showcase key moments of discovery in UCL research

The explosive potential of GI organoids
The explosive potential of GI organoids

Eye-catching images by researchers at UCL and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) that highlight "A Moment of Discovery" have been showcased as part of an annual competition.

The winning image was submitted by PhD candidate, Giada Benedetti (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health), and shows "The explosive potential of gastrointestinal organoids".

For the third National Institute for Health and Care Research GOSH Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR GOSH BRC) image competition, staff from the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and GOSH were invited to submit an image of their work that showed "A Moment of Discovery".

The competition was also open to staff at other children’s hospitals across the UK within the NIHR GOSH BRC paediatric Excellence Initiative.

The eleven images and GIFs offer glimpses into research that is helping to find new treatments for rare or complex conditions and hopes to transform the lives of seriously ill children and young people. They were presented to three panels - the GOSH Young Peoples Advisory Group for Research (YPAG), NIHR GOSH BRC stakeholders and the GOSH staff networks.

The top three images were selected and put to the public who voted for an overall winner via social media.

The winning image shows a gut "mini-organ", known as an organoid, that is a tiny copy of the digestive system.

During a process used to visualise specific proteins, one of the organoids exploded, revealing its inner workings.

These tiny organs are useful to model gastrointestinal diseases and are the perfect tool for scientists studying new therapies and testing new drugs in the laboratory.

In particular, the organoids can be derived directly from paediatric patients, and this offers the opportunity to test therapies that specifically benefit the child.

Giada Benedetti said: "Sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of why we are performing research, but the close interactions with the hospital really help motivate and give a clear purpose for the work that we do in the lab.

"The image competition is an excellent way to spread awareness for the research and display our scientific findings more dynamically and artistically, which is something that is easily lost in our usual world of number and spreadsheets."

Other notable images included a picture of an embryonic eye stained for dystrophin and an image showing the cells in a knee joint of a child with arthritis.

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