2019 Winners

First Place

Torsten Wittmann, PhD: “Cytoskeleton in neurons differentiating from induced pluripotent stem cells”

image of a neuron cytoskeleton
Second Place

Chang Xie, PhD: “Branching pattern of embryonic lung”

image of an embryonic lung
Third Place

Phi Nguyen: “A bed of astrocytes ensheathing embryonic neurons”

image of astrocytes and embryonic neurons
People's Choice

Wei Yu, MD, PhD: “A pair of E16 kidneys from hoxb7/eGFP transgenic mouse”

image of mouse embryonic kidneys
Judge's Honorable Mention

Xiaoyu Shi, PhD: “Nuclear lamina and nuclear pores of a mammalian nucleus”

image of nuclear lamina and nuclear pores
For more, see the story about this year's winners. 


About the Contest

As the nation’s leading public recipient of NIH biomedical research funds, there is no shortage of visually stunning research happening in UCSF labs every day. Up to $2,000 in cash prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • Judges First Place: $1000
  • Judges Second Place: $500
  • Judges Third Place: $250
  • People’s Choice: $250 

The contest was open from April 22 - May 3 and winners were announced in Pulse Newsletter on May 29.

Judges Panel

  • Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, Professor, Neurology
  • DeLaine Larsen, PhD, Director, UCSF Nikon Imaging Lab
  • Ernesto Diaz-Flores, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
  • Jordan Briscoe, Staff Research Associate, UCSF Biological Imaging Development Center

Contest Rules and Submission Requirements

Contest Rules

  1. Entries must be by individual UCSF faculty, staff or trainees at UCSF. You must submit using a UCSF email address.
  2. Any science imagery must be captured at UCSF.
  3. Must be still, microscopy images. No video. 
  4. There is no limit to the number of submissions.
  5. By submitting, you grant permission to UCSF to use any winning and non-winning entries for educational and marketing/promotional purposes.

Submission Requirements

  1. Caption must be included with submission. Please be clear and brief. Sample captions below:

    • A mouse leg muscle heals itself after injury by generating new fibers from transplanted human muscle stem cells (blue nuclei).

    • This is an image of a cross-section through the centre of an adult fruit fly thorax. Dense muscle fibres, which power the fly's wings, are stained by a dye that labels actin filaments (Phalloidin, in cyan). Tiny blood cell nuclei (labelled in red) can be found clustering around the air sacs (labelled in dark blue), which deliver oxygen to the muscles and other tissues. The blood cells don't deliver oxygen, but act as immune sentinels, guarding against infection.

  2. Provide images in TIFF or TIF format. The larger the file size the better. For questions regarding file specs, please contact Jordan Briscoe ([email protected]).


Technical and visual excellence (70%): Technical quality and visual artistry of image

Scientific impact (30%): What is the impact of this image or imaging technique to science? Does it enable new or groundbreaking research?

The first round judging will narrow all submissions to the top 100 images. Judging will be conducted by Kathleen Hennessy, MSc, UCSF Art Director and Photography Manager, University Relations, and Nick Weiler, PhD, Senior Public Information Officer for basic science, University Relations.

Final judging will be conducted by Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, Professor, Neurology; DeLaine Larsen, PhD, Director, UCSF Nikon Imaging Lab; Ernesto Diaz-Flores, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics; and Jordan Briscoe, Staff Research Associate, UCSF Biological Imaging Development Center.