Leeds & West Yorkshire

Heart-shaped red cell in blood clot photo wins competition

Blood clot image Image copyright Fraser Macrae
Image caption The image was taken through an electron microscope operating at 5000-times magnification

An image of a heart-shaped cell entangled in a blood clot has won a British Heart Foundation photo contest.

Taken under the magnification of an electron microscope, it was captured by a researcher studying how clots form.

Other shortlisted entries included an image of the blood vessel network inside a zebrafish heart and the immune system at work inside a muscle.

Fraser Macrae, the overall winner, said "art and science can highlight beauty in unexpected places when combined".

Image copyright Dr Nicoletta Surdo/Dr Sean Davidson
Image caption The runner up image (left) shows muscle fibres that form the chambers of a mouse heart, with a shortlisted image showing a cross-section of a mouse's blood vessel

A researcher at the Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics at the University of Leeds, Mr Macrae is studying how clots form and why people with heart disease form clots that the body is unable to break down.

The winning photograph shows red blood cells trapped in a mesh of fibrin fibres, with one cell compressed into a heart shape by the contracting fibres around it.

Each year in the UK about 100,000 people die from a heart attack or stroke caused by unwanted blood clots, according to the British Heart Foundation.

Image copyright Dr Tamara Gibrl
Image caption Another shortlisted image captured the immune system at work in a muscle
Image copyright Dr Mathew Lee
Image caption A large scale image of the innermost layer of a blood vessel was voted "supporter's favourite" photo

Mr Macrae said: "I was amazed when I saw the blood cell which by chance had been squeezed into a heart shape.

"As someone who is investigating aspects of heart disease, it seemed to be very symbolic."

It is the second time the researcher has won the competition, after an image he took in 2015 of the clotting process impressed the judges.

Image copyright Fraser Macrae
Image caption Mr Macrae won the top prize in the same competition in 2015 for his image called The Clot Thickens
Image copyright Dr Yujie Yang
Image caption Another shortlisted image was the view through a microscope of the blood vessel network inside a zebrafish heart

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