Scientific research produces a wealth of beautiful and interesting images. The Engaging Images exhibition is a display of inspiring scientific photographs that tell the story of the ground-breaking research being carried out across the Norwich Research Park. Research that is solving some of the biggest challenges we face on a global scale including how we feed a growing population, prevent and treat chronic diseases and take our planet back from the brink of irreversible climate change.
Siobhan Dorai-Raj, David Widdick (sample cultivation) and Andrew Davies (photography) John Innes Centre
The bacteria in the photograph are actinomycete isolated from a soil sample collected by students at Monkfield Park Primary School, Cambourne. The students were taking part in an antibiotics-themed Science Art and Writing (SAW) project led by Prof. Barrie Wilkinson from the John Innes Centre with writer Mike O’Driscoll and artist, Chris Hann. The outreach day involved a morning of science experiments followed by poetry writing and art, all inspired by the science. The SAW Trust aims to break down the traditional barriers between science and the arts.
Delayed Fluorescence in Arabidopsis
Hannah Rees, Earlham Institute
Circadian clocks are inbuilt time-keepers which allow plants to anticipate daily changes in light and temperature. At the Earlham Institute we are studying circadian rhythms in thale cress plants (Arabidopsis thaliana) using delayed fluorescence (DF) imaging. The dots in the image show 96-well plates containing around 20 seedlings which are pseudo-coloured for their delayed fluorescence intensity. Plates are imaged within a purposely built dark room using CCD-cameras capable of long exposure times. Photos are taken every hour over the course of a week and help scientists to measure the natural circadian rhythms of the plants.
A cosy lawn
Juan Pablo Gomez-Escribano, John Innes Centre
Most of the compounds we use as antibiotics are obtained from soil-dwelling microbes called actinomycetes. These bacteria grow as filaments on a solid substrate. When the environmental conditions are adequate, part of the filaments grow into the air and develop into spores, tiny but strong reproductive structures that can persist even under very tough conditions. In this macro-photograph of a colony of actinomycete Streptomyces coelicolor, you can see the lawn of thin white filaments over which drops of water have condensed and accumulated the blue antibiotic made by this microbe.
An Uncertain Future
Matt Heaton, John Innes Centre
An Ethiopian farmer weeds his young wheat crop and checks for signs of rust while his son watches. Ethiopia is the largest wheat producer in sub-Saharan Africa and many rely on the harvest it yields. With changing climates however, fungal rusts that damage the crop are becoming more prevalent. Unless tighter detection and control strategies are developed, the future of cereal farmers is growing in uncertainty. The Saunders group at the John Innes Centre are developing new methods to track rust outbreaks more quickly so control methods can be improved.
AfriPlantSci19 – DNA extraction from local Kenyan plant tissue
Danny Ward, John Innes Centre
Students of the AfriPlantSci19 summer school selecting from a variety of local plant samples for DNA extraction, purification and analyses. This image was taken at the AfriPlantSci19 summer school at Pwani University, Kilifi, Kenya. The summer school is an initiative started by the John Innes Centre (JIC) and sessions like this were run by JIC staff and PhD students on internship placements in Africa.
Adi Kliot (sample preparation) and Eva Wegel (imaging), John Innes Centre
Optical section through an infected Aster Leafhopper nymph Macrosteles quadrilineatus. The leafhopper is a vector for phytoplasma bacterium, which causes Aster Yellows Witches’ Broom disease in plants. The Magenta colour in the image shows the bacterium membrane and the green colour shows the presence of a protein secreted by the bacterium.
Scientists at the John Innes Centre are investigating the role of phytoplasma proteins in manipulating both plants and insects into working for the phytoplasma, in the hopes of disrupting it and stopping the spread of disease-causing phytoplasma.
Sky at night
Thomas C McLean, University of East Anglia
A bacterial colony of Streptomyces coelicolor growing on milk powder agar. This bacterium makes a blue pigmented antibiotic called actinorhodin which can be seen, secreted into the colony’s surroundings, and in combination with the colour of the agar appears darker than the typical sky blue. Much research at the University of East Anglia, in collaboration with the John Innes Centre, has been centred around this fascinating and remarkable micro-organism and related actinomycetes to better understand their basic biology and to uncover new antibiotics.
Raffaele Colosimo, Quadram Institute Bioscience
Mycoprotein (such as Quorn™) is a food ingredient composed of fungal hyphae. Scientists at the Quadram Institute are investigating mechanisms underpinning the health benefits of consuming these foods by determining how the complex mycoprotein structure controls the digestion and the bioavailability of nutrients. This image is an optical micrograph showing a fusion of the gastric (left) and intestinal (right) phases of an in vitro digestion of mycoprotein. The internal proteins (pink) are partially released during the digestion, whereas the cell wall fibres remain intact with a shiny blue colour.
Wheat infected with the blast fungus in Meherpur, Bangladesh
Nick Talbot, The Sainsbury Laboratory
Wheat infected with the blast fungus in Meherpur, Bangladesh. This destructive disease is a new plant health emergency for South Asia. It first appeared in the region in 2016 following imports of contaminated wheat from South America. Scientists at The Sainsbury Laboratory and their Bangladeshi colleagues have developed open science platforms to tackle the outbreak.
Pioneering Diagnostic Device
NNUH NHS FT
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and the University of East Anglia (UEA) are developing a wearable piece of technology that hopes to speed up the diagnosis of the most common causes of dizziness, one of the most common reasons for a doctor to visit patients over the age of 75 years old.
The CAVA (Continuous Ambulatory Vestibular Assessment) device uses five electrodes attached to a person’s head, is lightweight, durable, can be worn day and night to monitor head and eye movements and allows doctors to evaluate real life attacks of dizziness.
Robotic assisted surgery
NNUH NHS FT
In January the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) celebrated three years of saving and transforming cancer patients’ lives through robotic surgery. The state-of-the-art robotic surgery equipment, operated by a surgeon, carried out the first radical prostatectomy in Norwich in February 2016 to remove the prostate of a cancer patient, and has since been used on average four times a week to help save more lives.
Surgeons use the four-armed robot and console, which provides a magnified 3D view, for robotic assisted prostatectomies, bladder removal, partial kidney and kidney removal and colorectal surgery.
Using the Engaging Images exhibition as a starting place, the Norwich Research Park invites you to get inspired by science and produce a piece of creative art. The competition is open to all and entries can be examples of poerty or art. Winners of the competition will have their creative work put on display at The Forum later in the year. Competition entry deadline is 11 November. Drop in to the exhibition to pick up an entry form or download the entry form.
You can ‘meet the scientists’ on 22 October in The Forum, where you’ll hear about the latest discoveries and research behind the images on show.
The Norwich Research Park is an international centre of excellence in life and environmental sciences. Our aim is to deliver solutions to the global challenges of healthy ageing, food and energy security, sustainability and environmental change.
The Norwich Research Park Image Library is an open access resource, that aims to provide high resolution images of the ground-breaking work that is carried out across the Park.
Image: A New Planet by Thomas Louveau, John Innes Centre
Saturday 19–Saturday 26 October
Venue: The Forum, Explorium
Cost: Free, drop-in
Age: All ages