As part of my job I read a lot (and I mean a lot) about the research we’re funding. But it’s not always easy to picture exactly what’s going on under or over the microscope.
As part our recent Early Career Researchers day, we invited all the students to submit pictures from their work to an image competition, to help bring their work to life. Here are some of our favourites:
Mario de Piano, a first year PhD student at King’s College London won the competition with this picture of colony forming prostate cancer cells (top row) and highly metastatic non-colony forming prostate cancer cells (bottom row) in the form of the original image (left), as a painting (middle) and as a distorted image (right). You can see how the non metastatic cancer cells cluster together (top row), while metastatic cells move in long lines – which is how they escape to spread around the body. Being able to see the different type of cells like this helps us start to understand why some cancers might spread while others stay within the prostate.
Our other favourites included this one from Amanda Noble:
Amanda is a Daphne Jackson Trust Fellow at the University of York. This fellowship gave her the opportunity to return to the lab after a career break bringing up her family. She showed an image of primary cancer cells from a tumour (artificially coloured in blue). Again, you can see how the cells cluster together, as they would in a patient with localised prostate cancer.
We also really liked this picture by Wafa Al-Jamal:
Wafa, who received a Career Development Fellowship to establish her own lab at the University of East Anglia, showed an image of balls of close-packed prostate cancer cells that have been treated with the anti-cancer drug doxyrubicin. The blue colour shows where the balls of cells have taken up the drug, often deep inside, as a result of the drug being delivered wrapped up in incredibly small packets, called nanoparticles, which can travel deep into the tumour. This approach promises an exciting new treatment option for cancer cells that have spread around the body.
Finally, here’s a picture of Satoshi Hori, our first Clinical Training Fellow to complete his fellowship, operating a Da Vinci Robot, used for robotic radical prostatectomies, which is surgery to remove the prostate:
Satoshi is a urological surgeon, who had a Prostate Cancer UK/MRC Clinical Training Fellowship to complete his PhD. These kinds of awards are really important, not just for the scientific discoveries that might come out of the PhD research, but also because a PhD is an essential training step for any clinician who is hoping to continue with a research career – either in the lab, or running clinical trials.
Satoshi says, ‘Following this, I intend to apply for a Clinical Lectureship in Urology to pursue my research interests in prostate cancer. My future ambition is to become an academic Urologist, spending part of my time working as a lecturer doing research and part as a Consultant Urologist working in a busy NHS Hospital.’ So we’re looking forward to reading great things about Satoshi’s future career and the work he’s doing to benefit men with prostate cancer.
If you’ve taken any research pictures that you want to share and that you’re happy for us to publish, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org