STRIKING scientific images from Oxford researchers have impressed judges and supporters in a national competition.

The British Heart Foundation’s (BHF)‘Reflections of Research’ awards gives scientists funded by the charity the chance to showcase cutting-edge heart and circulatory disease research through the creation of unique artwork.

Each year, supporters of the charity can vote for their favourite image through the BHF’s Facebook page.

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This year, a team contribution from Cheryl Tan, Maryam Alsharqi, Dr Winok Lapidaire, Dr Mariane Bertagnolli and Dr Adam Lewandowski, all based at the Radcliffe Department of Medicine’s Oxford Cardiovascular Clinical Research Facility (CCRF) at Oxford University, scooped the Supporters’ Favourite award.

The Oxford Times:

The Forming Heart, Dr Richard Tyser, a BHF-funded researcher at Oxford University

The eye-catching image, titled ‘The Heart and Brain Axis’, showcases the complex interaction between the heart and brain and shows some of the different imaging techniques that the scientists use to research this relationship.

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These include magnetic resonance imaging of the heart and brain, ultrasound imaging of the heart and blood vessels, as well as heart cell imaging.

The team’s research aims to better understand how the two organs work together. They are also investigating how this relationship changes with risk factors for heart and circulatory diseases, such as high blood pressure or a history of pregnancy complications including premature birth and pre-eclampsia. The team are hoping to find out how diseases of the heart and brain develop people with a higher risk, and how they can be prevented.

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There was further success for the city's researchers, with Dr Richard Tyser, a BHF immediate fellow at Oxford University, taking the runner-up position of the whole competition with his image of a developing mouse heart.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, and one of the judges of this year’s competition, said: “Science and art are two different ways of seeing the world, yet here we demonstrate how the two beautifully collide.These snapshots of the scientific world all tell a story about the complexities of the heart and circulatory system.

He added: "Connecting science and art showcases new discoveries, sparks curiosity and helps to push for medical breakthroughs in our journey to save and improve lives, and to ultimately beat heartbreak forever.”