Art of Science you won’t believe it until you see it

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s popular Art of Science exhibition has opened at Melbourne’s Federation Square for its fifth year.

Grey and orange image of cells

A golden net is spun around bloated

spheres of doomed cells in this

striking image, capturing the final

moments of dying breast cells.

Credit: Caleb Dawson (WEHI)

The free exhibition showcases 20 still and moving images captured by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists in the course of their research into cancer, infection and immunity and healthy development and ageing.

The artworks provide visitors with a ‘backstage pass’ into the microscopic world of medical research.

Visitors will experience a rare opportunity to observe intestinal cells devouring themselves; the remarkable changes that occur in breast tissue after menopause; neurons forming vital connections for the brain to function; and a parasite-infected human cell moments before bursting to spread infection.

At a glance

  • Art of Science gives visitors a ‘back-stage pass’ into the laboratory. Visitors will be amazed at the exciting research being done in Melbourne.
  • The unique still and moving images on display offer a rare opportunity to access imagery usually only seen by researchers with access to the most advanced microscopes.
  • Talented Institute researchers will be at the exhibition to shed light on anything that you’ve always wondered about biomedical research.

Healthy competition

Institute director Professor Doug Hilton said the Art of Science exhibition demonstrated how advances in imaging technology were enabling researchers to progress medical discovery.

“Rapid advances in imaging technologies and techniques are helping researchers to visualise intricate biological processes. These incredible insights are enhancing our understanding of how health is maintained, and also how diseases strike and spread,” Professor Hilton said.

The exhibition features finalists and winners from the Institute’s annual Art of Science competition. The competition is an Institute tradition that has been running for more than two decades. This year, science communicator and ABC presenter Nate Byrne toured the Institute and judged the entries.

Visitors to the exhibition are invited to vote for their favourite in the People’s Choice Awards, with all voters going in the running to win a framed print of their favourite work.

Nate Byrne at the Centre for Dynamic Imaging with Niall Geoghegan

ABC presenter Nate Byrne visited the Institute’s Centre for

Dynamic Imaging with Dr Niall Geoghegan. He also judged

the 2019 Art of Science Awards.

Cutting-edge technology

Many of the works in the exhibition are from research collaborations within the Institute’s world-class Centre for Dynamic Imaging. The centre houses more than 16 highly-specialised microscopes, including five confocal microscopes and Australia’s only custom-built lattice light sheet microscope.

Confocal technology can scan images at multiple depths, allowing researchers to create high resolution, 3D cellular imagery from a single cell to a whole organ. Light sheet microscopy is used to image ‘live’ cells because it is incredibly gentle on biological samples. In the past, light used for imaging could be damaging to samples. Now, with technology such as the lattice light sheet, scientists can successfully capture ‘live action’ images and movies of their research in stunning detail.

Institute volunteers will be at the exhibition daily to answer questions and share stories of exploration and discovery. These dedicated and talented researchers are the reason the Institute is a top-ranked Australian medical research institute (Nature Index, 2019).

Congratulations to Art of Science 2019 winners

Art of Science still image category

Winner: Window into development by Casey Anttila and Tom Weber

2nd place: Radiant by Sabrina Lewis

3rd place: Fire and iris by Stephen Mieruszynski

Moving Image in Science category

Winner: Cellular furnace by Sophia Davidson

2nd place: Now you see me, now you don’t by Ronnie Low

3rd place: Journey through the mammary duct by Caleb Dawson and Anne Rios

The public also get to have their say. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to vote for their favourite image in the ever popular People’s Choice Awards for the chance to win a framed print of their choice.

See you there

Art of Science

Daily, 13 – 22 September 2019, 10am-6pm

The Atrium at Federation Square, Melbourne

Entry is free

Institute staff and scientists will be in The Atrium at Federation Square between 10am-6pm throughout the exhibition period, to show visitors around and answer questions.

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