Showcasing our top research images

Dr Genevieve Secker's winning image, Vascular Tree. COMMUNITY

UniSA’s inaugural Images in Research competition attracted almost 150 entrants, showcasing the work of staff and students across a range of research areas in stunning photographs.

Dr Genevieve SeckerDr Genevieve Secker (pictured right) from the Centre for Cancer Biology took out first prize for her image Vascular Tree, while researcher Saad Al-Sharrah claimed second prize for his image Desert Wanderer.

Competition entries were judged by a selection panel that included Deputy Vice
Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro, who described the quality of submissions as ‘outstanding’.

“This competition truly highlights the diversity of our research. The purpose of the competition is to source and recognise outstanding examples of intriguing photographs that inspire people to want to know more about the research activities at UniSA,” Prof Monro says.

“We see these images as a powerful way of demystifying research and telling some of the stories of how our researchers engage with real-world challenges.”

Dr Secker described winning the competition as ‘fantastic’.

“I captured this image because every time I look at the developing blood and lymphatic vessels associated with the intestine I was amazed at how much it looked like a tree with its larger trunk-like vessels leading up to the smaller branching network of vessels,” Dr Secker says.

Dr Genevieve Secker's winning image, Vascular Tree.“The image was taken using a confocal microscope, which is able to take in-focus images from selected depths within a sample. When you take multiple images at different depths you are able to reconstruct a three-dimensional image. This allows us to look at structures on a whole tissue or whole organism level, giving us extra information about tissue structure in normal and disease states.

“I think this competition is a fantastic opportunity for us to display the amazing images that we can take of biological systems. I hope someone looks at my image and wants to learn more about what we do as a research group.

“Our research focuses on lymphatic vessels and their associated disorders, including lymphoedema, inflammatory diseases and cancer metastasis. By understanding how the lymphatic vessels are built, we aim to improve current therapies for people suffering from these debilitating conditions.”

Saad Al-Sharrah’s photograph of a sheep herder in Morocco.Saad Al-Sharrah’s black and white photograph of a sheep herder in Morocco captured a very different, yet equally captivating image of research related to the environment.

“I was in the Moroccan desert heading towards my study site, which was located south of the Atlas Mountains in the Meknès-Tafilalet region in north central Morocco and we stopped at a water point to refill our drinking bottles,” he says.

“I came out of the car for a stretch and a drink of water. I saw the herder approaching with his flock towards the water and he stood there while the sheep would drink. I was inspired by how much life and mysticism that moment contained … I just reacted by lifting my camera and taking a snap. I am glad I did.

“When I saw the advertisement for the competition I was really excited. I have many photographs from my research visits and the competition was the perfect avenue to share them with different audiences. The competition has shed light to what my research is trying to achieve, providing ecological assessments that can help us to develop action plans for these fragile desert ecosystems suffering from land degradation.

“Winning the second place was such a great joy. I am thankful to the people of the desert and everybody involved in creating a sustainable future, they are my inspiration. This is dedicated to them.”

Now it is your turn to be a part of the competition – help us determine the winner of the People’s Choice Award. Simply click here and check out the images in the running for the People’s Choice Award, select your favourite, and cast your vote.

These images will also be displayed via an installation on George Street, City West campus, at UniSA Open Day, Sunday August 16. The competition closes at 5pm August 16.