Each year, our Light Microscopy Core Facility runs an Image Contest, showcasing the breadth and beauty of the research in the building.  

Microscopy has allowed researchers to picture cells and tissues in detail previously unimaginable. This competition celebrates the skill and creativity of the scientists here at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. 

1st Prize – Sasha Bailey, Winton Group

Sasha Bailey is part of the Winton Group, who are interested in intestinal stem cells and the way in which they contribute to colon cancer. Intestinal stem cells have the potential to develop into many of the cell types that make up the gut lining.

The team studies the properties of these stem cells to understand how different categories of cell can give rise to tumours. Pictured is an organoid, a mini organ grown in the lab.  

2nd Prize – Marzia Munafo, Hannon Group

Marzia Munafo is a PhD student in the Hannon Group using fruit flies to investigate the piRNA pathway, a small-RNA based defence that protects the genetic material of germ cells. This piRNA pathway is found across the animal kingdom and failures in the pathway can lead to sterility. This image shows an egg chamber from a fruit fly ovary.

-3rd Prize – Carolin Sauer, Brenton Group

High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer (HGSOC) is the most common form of ovarian cancer, and has a five-year survival rate of just 30%.  Carolin Sauer’s research in the Brenton Group focuses on understanding abnormalities in the centrosome, a structure in the cell which plays a fundamental role in cell division, along with genomic complexity in HGSOC.

This image shows centrosomes (yellow dots) in a patient derived HGSOC sample. Around 27% of the cells show centrosome amplification, an abnormality where more than two centrosomes are present in one cell, leading to cells dividing incorrectly.     

-3rd Prize – Dr Michael Gill, Miller Group

Dr Michael Gill from the Miller Group is working on a pioneering project to develop a new ‘barcoding’ method that could reveal how pancreatic cancer evades treatment and the immune system.

The Nuclear Tandem Epitope Protein (nTEP) Barcoding technology involves marking the different cells within a tumour so that multiple aspects of a tumour’s environment can be studied at the same time. This image shows a mixture of nTEP barcoded cells. 




Martin Fabry – Hannon Group

Genome integrity is essential for proper cell function. Martin’s research examines the epigenetic mechanisms that ensure DNA remains unchanged over generations. Pictured is an early fruit fly embryo.




Dr Astrid Wendler – Tavare Group

Dr Astrid Wendler explores the mutations caused by the chemotherapy drug temozolomide in recurrent glioblastoma, a type of brain tumour which is very difficult to treat. This image shows a single glioblastoma cell with 9 nuclei. 



Tony Wu – Miller Group

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most common form of pancreatic cancer. This image shows the PDAC cells’ ability for vascular mimicry, where cancer cells form their own network of tubes similar to blood vessels. They also observe how the macrophages, a common immune cell, can help PDAC cells acquire invasive traits and metastsise.




Emma Kneuss – Hannon Group

Emma Kneuss is a PhD student in the Hannon Group. Pictured is a germ cell nuclei of a Drosophila ovary.