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Olympus Image of the Year Award 2019

Image of the Year Award 2019 has come to a close. Have a look at below to see the beautiful images we received this year. For the latest information and submission details, click here!

Visit the latest Image of the Year

The Global Winner

Winner 1

The winning image was taken by Ainara Pintor (Spain).

The stunning fluorescence image shows the immunostaining of Thy1-EGFP mouse brain slice with two fluorophores. In green, the excitatory hippocampal neurons, which express Green Fluorescent Protein under Thy1 promoter. In red, Fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) protein revealed with Alexa Fluor 594 antibody. In blue, cell nuclei labelled with DAPI. Captured with a super resolution confocal microscope system.

Download original image (jpg, 2.44 MB)

Regional Winners


Winner 1

Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Winner 2


Winner 3

The winning image was taken by Tagide deCarvalho (U.S.A.).

The beautiful fluorescence image shows the inside of a tardigrade with colorful details.

Download original image (jpg, 1.80 MB)

Alan Prescott (U.K.) 's image won the EMEA regional prize.

As titled "The Mouse's Whiskers" by Alan, this fascinating shape was captured from a frozen section of a mouse using multiple fluorescent labels.

Download original image (jpg, 3.24 MB)

Asia-Pacific regional prize was awarded to Howard Vindin (Australia).

This remarkable image shows the autofluorescence of a mouse embryo with 950 tiles stitched together.

Download original image (jpg, 4.61 MB)

Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mention #1
Ming-Der Lin (Taiwan)

This is the ovary of a gall-inducing wasp anselmella miltoni girault showing their eggs captured with a confocal microscope.

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Honorable Mention #2
Nat Prunet (U.S.A.)

Inflorescence of arabidopsis thaliana with young, developing flower buds expressing a fluorescent reporters.

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Honorable Mention #3
Justin Zoll (U.S.A.)

A preparation of amino acids L glutamine and beta alanine crystalized out of an ethanol solution and photographed at 50X using polarizing filters.

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Honorable Mention #4
Tong Zhang (China)

Mouse spinal cord with a GFP expression and cleared with the CLARITY method.

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Honorable Mention #5
Daniela Malide (U.S.A.)

Image of 3D depth: color-coded reconstruction of confocal images of tubulin (microtubuli) in mitotic COS7 monkey fibroblast cells.

Download original image (jpg, 1.20 MB)

Honorable Mention #6
Hamed Rajabi (Germany)

Captured a part of foldable wings of an insect, and named as “a road in the sky”, because veins look like roads and spines on wing membrane are like stars.

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Honorable Mention #7
Rudolf Buechi (Switzerland)

Different photonic crystals in insects on the elytron of the longhorned beetle Sternotomis pulchra.

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Honorable Mention #8
Martin Hailstone (U.K.)

Nuclei (red) and microtubules (green) highlight the neurons of the brain.

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Honorable Mention #9
Nathan Renfro (U.S.A.)

This image shows the green gem material, prase opal, which when magnified through a microscope remarkable resembles an aerial view of a coastline.

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Ron Caplain, Photographer

Ron Caplain began photographing in the 1970's as a landscape photographer. In the 80's he became interested in street work and people and that is where he is today. Although he has not had any formal training he has taken many workshops amongst which are Ansel Adams, George Tice and Joel Meyerowitz.

Currently he has many bodies of work and is still working in these genres, including, street people, parades, conversations, people on the street, illusionary, and juxtapositions.

Geoff Williams, Manager of the Leduc BioImaging Facility at Brown University

Geoff Williams is in his fourteenth year as manager of the Leduc BioImaging Facility at Brown University. The opportunity to combine visual arts, science, technology and mastery of a skill clicked with his discovery of Microscopy (electron and light) as an undergraduate at Connecticut College. Geoff transitioned from a graduate program at Michigan State University to running the Imaging facility at Central Michigan University before arriving at Brown. Over the past 20 plus years he has been honing his craft as both an electron and light microscopist, paying much more attention to the aesthetic of each image collected than is typically required of a purely scientific investigation. Geoff’s work, under the name Nanoscape, provides a tactile and striking view of samples we may or may not encounter in our day-to-day lives.

Wendy Salmon, Light Microscopy Specialist, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT

Wendy Salmon is the Light Microscopy Specialist in the W.M. Keck Facility for Biological Imaging at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, MA and co-directs the annual Analytical and Quantitative Light Microscopy short course at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA. She studied biology at the University of Richmond in Richmond, VA, USA and discovered the wonders of light microscopy during summer research at the University of North Carolina in her hometown of Chapel Hill NC, USA. She received early training in live cell imaging with Dr. Clare Waterman and Dr. David McClay before transitioning to core facility work in 2002. She has advised and trained hundreds of researchers in basic and advanced light microscopy at four institutions and the MBL. She previously served as a judge for the Olympus BioScapes and Koch Center Image Awards contests.

Urs Ziegler, Head of Facility, Center for Microscopy and Image Analysis, UZH

Urs Ziegler entered the field of microscopy in 1990 while investigating attachment and movement of nematocytes in Hydra. He continued to use various microscopy techniques in his research to investigate cell adhesion in neurite outgrowth as well as host-pathogen interactions. In 2007, he joined the Center for Microscopy and Image Analysis at the University of Zurich as head. He is involved in many research collaborations, supporting microscopy-related questions and developing applications in the fields of light and electron microscopy, sample preparation, 3D and automated microscopy as well as correlative microscopy approaches.

Stefan Terjung, Operational Manager of the ALMF at EMBL Heidelberg

Stefan Terjung studied biology and chemistry at the University of Heidelberg (DE). At the beginning of his studies he discovered his passion for microscopy techniques. For his thesis at the Institute of Cell Biology he investigated biological applications of two-photon microscopy. He obtained his PhD in botany at the Heidelberg Institute for Plant Sciences (HIP) in 2004. Stefan joined the Advanced Light Microscopy Facility (ALMF) at EMBL Heidelberg in 2003. Since 2016 he is Operational Manager of the ALMF.

In this position he is regulary involved in organizing and teaching courses on light microscopy techniques.

Hiroaki Misono, Professor of Graduate School of Brain Science, Doshisha University

Hiroaki Misono (a.k.a. Miso) studied Psychology in college to be a counselor. He then discovered his passion for the brain and nerve cells, and started to study Cell Biology and Neuroscience on his own. This eventually led him to his PhD in Biological Sciences and academic career in Neuroscience. He has extensively used light microscopy techniques, such as live cell imaging and super-resolution microscopy, in his research on ion channels and Alzheimer's disease. He also has a strong interest in showcasing microscope images, which brought him a couple of honorable mentions in the Olympus BioScapes competition.

Zhu Xueliang, Professor of Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Dr. Zhu Xueliang is a senior tenured faculty in Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, China Academy of Science (CAS). He is a world-famous cellular biologist for the breakthrough findings on the cell cycle and the regulation mechanism of cell motilities. He has published many peer-reviewed papers on the top journals including but not limited to Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Developmental Cell, Journal of Cell Biology. He also served for the research community of cell biology for long time. He currently is the Associate Editor-in-Chief for Chinese Journal of Cell Biology and Molecular Biology of the Cell and the Editorial Board Member of Cell Research, and he used to be the director of State Key Laboratory of Cell Biology, Associate Dean of Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Vice President of Chinese Society for Cell Biology, etc.

Wang Yalin, Director of Biomedical Research Core Facilities, Westlake University

Wang Yalin is the Director of Biomedical Research Core Facilities at Westlake University, Hangzhou, China. Prior to joining Westlake, Dr. Wang managed imaging core facilities at multiple institutions, including Janelia Research Campus of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Virginia, and Tsinghua University. He has extensive experience in light microscopy and electron microscopy imaging and associated sample preparation techniques. His major research interest is in correlative microscopy and 3D electron microscopy.

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Image of the Year 2018 – The Winners

Winner 1

1st prize

The winning image was taken by Håkan Kvanström.

The stunning fluorescence image shows the shell of a marine snail covered in algae and cyanobacteria.

See the image in high resolution here (JPG, 2.1 MB).

Click here to read the interview

Winner 2

2nd prize

Karl Gaff's image won second prize.

This mesmerizing image was captured using polarized light, giving little droplets of solidified dopamine their beautiful colors.

See this image in high resolution here (JPG, 3.0 MB).

Click here to read the interview

Winner 3

3rd prize

Third prize was awarded to Johann Swanepoel.

This remarkable image shows the intricate 'mouth brushes' of a mosquito larva in great detail thanks to differential interference contrast microscopy.

See this image in high resolution here (JPG, 5.1 MB).

Click here to read the interview

BioScapes – International Digital Imaging Competition from 2004 to 2014

Olympus BioScapes

For more than a decade, we’ve celebrated some of the world’s most amazing images of life’s wonders as seen through microscopes. Take a look at the Gallery and enjoy some extraordinary images and videos of the natural world. Then share links to the images you like best with your friends and colleagues.

 Click here to see more images on the BioScapes gallery

Competition Rules

Image submissions were accepted between August 1, 2019 and January, 31, 2020.

Anyone over the age of 18 can participate. Olympus employees, their families, the judges, their families, and individuals engaged in the manufacturing or sales of microscopes are excluded from participation.

A maximum of 3 images were allowed per participant.

No purchase necessary to enter or win.

After participating in the competition images might be depicted in Olympus campaigns worldwide. Image submission includes the grant of the corresponding rights of use. Participants will be credited as the image creator so must be the originator of the uploaded images and images have to be free from any third party rights. Please find the full details in the terms and conditions.

Submissions were evaluated anonymously by the jury on artistic and visual aspects, scientific impact and, microscope proficiency.

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