Art of the Heart 2022

Capturing our Science – Art of the Heart Winners 2022

21 December 2022

Startling and beautiful images of the structure of the heart, proteins thought to drive heart attacks in women and 3D resolutions of blood vessels took home the awards at this year’s scientific image competition.

More than 20 scientists and staff from across the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute submitted entries to the peer-reviewed competition – which also has a special People’s Choice Award open to the public.

Other stunning images also captured the trails of membranes being left behind as cells moved forward, the damage caused to the right heart chamber by a heart attack, and a very rare variant causing genetic heart disease.

A huge thanks to everyone who submitted an entry and to those who voted.

Experts Pick

'Volcanic Eruption' by Nick Murray and Dr Osvaldo Contreras

'Volcanic Eruption' by Nick Murray and Dr Osvaldo Contreras

You can see why this was named a volcanic eruption, but this is actually a high-resolution fluorescent imaging of the cardiac pacemaker, the key structure of the heart that dictates the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. Highlighted in red are specialised pacemaker cells that drive electrical impulses across the heart that coordinate each heartbeat. Dysfunction of this pacemaker can cause arrhythmic heart diseases, such as atrial fibrillation.

Victor Chang Cardiac Institute Favourite

'Floating tomatoes' by PhD student Keerat Junday

'Floating tomatoes' by PhD student Keerat Junday

They may look like tomatoes or strawberries, but these are the nuclei, or the cells found in the artery wall. The green protein is a special protein that our scientists are studying and could be a driver of Spontaneous Coronary Artery Disease or SCAD which is responsible for a quarter of all heart attacks in women under 50. This image was photographed by equipment housed in our Innovation Centre – the Opera Phenix, a high-content screening system that allows high-throughput imaging.

People’s Choice

'Lifelines of the heart' by Dr Ella Martin

This stunning 3D image of the heart was captured by microcomputed tomography and helps our scientists study coronary heart disease (IHD), which is the most common form of heart disease. The number one cause is atherosclerosis, where the build-up of fats, cholesterol, and plaque in the arteries causes blockages in blood flow leading to a heart attack.

High-resolution structural 3D information of blood vessels offers unique opportunities for analysis and represents an outstanding tool to study the structural intricacies of a whole vascular tree in the context of disease and treatment.

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land, the Gadigal of the Eora nation, on which we meet, work, and discover.
Our Western Australian laboratories pay their respect to the Whadjuk Noongar who remain as the ongoing spiritual and cultural custodians of their land.