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Science hidden to the naked eye

16 March 2017

Scientists from King’s have been shortlisted in the Wellcome Image Awards 2017 for their ‘Language pathways of the brain’ image.

Now in its 20th year, the Wellcome Image Awards celebrate the best of the world’s science images, which will be shown at exhibitions held across the UK and internationally.

The image created by Stephanie J Forkel, Ahmad Beyh and Alfonso de Lara Rubio from King’s shows a 3D-printed reconstruction of the white matter pathway connecting the two areas in the brain responsible for speech and language called the arcuate fasciculus.

To create this model, a map of the white matter pathway was generated using a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) called diffusion imaging, which tracks the movement of water molecules. The data from the scan was used to create a 3D model made from clear resin, using 3D-printing technology. The 3D model was then illuminated using different coloured lights to create this image.

Stephanie and Ahmad work together as research scientists at Natbrainlab at King’s College London. Stephanie studies how language processes recover after brain damage, and Ahmad focuses on the brain networks of the human visual system. For this project, they collaborated with Alfonso, who is an MRI specialist who also works at King’s. Alfonso provides technical engineering support to research projects that use MRI, including diffusion tractography, as used for this image.

The Wellcome Image Awards continuously uncovers striking images that open up a world of science often hidden to the naked eye. There is a spectacular array of images here which will draw the public in, make them wonder and make them ask questions about things they’ve never even imagined.

Fergus Walsh, BBC Medical Correspondent and member of the judging panel

Previously shortlisted images from King’s:

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