Reflections of Research

Two cells are dividing to form a heart in the centro of the imageReflections of Research is our annual competition, reflecting the groundbreaking research we fund through images. This research would not be possible without your donations. 

We know that our driven researchers carry out cutting-edge, painstaking research every day and we want them to share a picture of this research.

The most engaging and exciting image is awarded the British Heart Foundation’s Reflection of Research Judges' Winner by a panel of judges, and our Facebook supporters pick the Supporters' Favourite.

Reflections of Research 2015

The winners of our 2015 competition were formally announced to the cardiovascular medicine and research community at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) Conference in Manchester on Tuesday 7 June and we're pleased to share those winners with you:

2015 Judges' Winner: Go with the flow

Dr Victoria Stoll, University of Oxford

Winning image from Reflections of Research 2015 called 'Go with the flow' by Dr Victoria Stoll from the University of Oxford.

The winning image captures the blood flowing within an adult heart frozen in time. Blood flows within the main pumping chambers – the ventricles – of the heart and the vessels leaving the heart. The blue flow is blood that lacks oxygen and is travelling to the lungs. The red flow is blood that has been through the lungs and received oxygen and is now ready to be pumped around the body.

Dr Stoll is using this type of imaging, four dimensional cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to look at the blood flow in four dimensions within the hearts of people with heart failure, whose hearts are not pumping effectively. She has already found that in people with severe heart failure the blood flows around the heart in a more disordered and disrupted pattern.

A simply beautiful image

One of the judges of this year's competition, wildlife photographer Andrew Rouse, said:

"The winning image is simply beautiful. It's both amazingly abstract and instantly recognisable. My 11 month old daughter is fascinated by it, and she is perhaps the best judge of all showing that this image is simple yet also very striking, which is what a good photograph should be."

2015 Supporters' Favourite: Heart cells of a new-born

Dr Elisa Avolio, University of Bristol

The Supporters' Favourite from our science image competition Reflections of Research 2015 produced by Dr Elisa Avolio from the University of Bristol.

These are heart cells taken from new-borns who received a surgical operation for correction of congenital heart defects shortly after birth. The blue colour shows the shape of the cells, while the magenta shows a structural protein necessary to glue the cells together. 

Dr Avolio is using these cells to explore the possibility of treating congenital heart disease. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, In the UK alone over 4,000 babies are diagnosed with congenital heart disease each year.

The only treatment for some of these conditions is corrective surgery where a piece of tissue, known as a graft, is used to replace the affected area. However, often surgery has to be repeated several times throughout childhood as the child's heart outgrows the graft used to repair it.

Elisa is working on grafts that are able to grow like living tissue and can therefore grow along with a child's heart. These new grafts would mean that instead of having multiple operations to insert bigger grafts as the patient's heart grows, only one operation would be needed.

More than just a pretty picture

Professor Peter Weissberg, our Medical Director and one of this year’s judges, said:

"Science relies increasingly on ever more sophisticated imaging techniques to help us to see the cellular and molecular processes that conspire to create disease.

"Each of these images contains a wealth of information that scientists can use in their fight against cardiovascular disease. So whilst this competition is all about stunning imagery, it’s actually the story that the image tells that matters."

2015 Judges

View the 2015 shortlist

Previous winners

The competition has been running since 2005. See the spectacular images our scientists have previously entered into our Reflections of Research competition.