Olympus Image of the Year Award 2020

Olympus is continuing to search for the best light microscopy images in 2020. Olympus’ second Global Image of the Year Life Science Light Microscopy Award recognizes the very best in life science imaging worldwide. Participants can win an SZX7 microscope with a DP27 digital camera or a CX23 microscope.

See below for more details.


Registration is now closed.

Thank you for your submissions!
The winners will be announced on this website in March, 2021.


One global winner and one regional winner from the participants in each of the three regions (Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Americas) will be selected.

Global prize

Global Prize: SZX7 microscope and DP27 camera

SZX7 Stereo Microscope with DP27 Digital Camera

SZX7 Stereo Microscope

  • Wide zoom ratio (7:1) and natural view
  • System modularity

Click here to read more about the SZX7 microscope

 DP27 Digital Camera

  • 5 megapixel color CCD
  • High quality color and fidelity with high pixel resolution for documentation
  • Optimized contrast and color modes for brightfield observations

Click here to read more about the DP27 digital camera

Regional prize

Regional Prize: CX23

CX23 Upright Microscope

  • Diverse, user-friendly design
  • Outstanding optical performance
  • Long lifetime LED illumination

Click here to read more about the CX23


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

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.

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

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.

Harini Sreenivasappa, Manager of Cell Imaging Center at Drexel University

Harini Sreenivasappa, Manager of Cell Imaging Center at Drexel University

Harini Sreenivasappa is the Manager of Drexel University’s light microscopy core facility, the Cell Imaging Center. She was introduced to microscopy during graduate school at Texas A&M University where she studied the role of microenvironment stimuli on cellular sensing and adapting as it takes place in blood vessel wall remodeling in cardiovascular disease. This eventually led to a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. She has over 10 years of experience working with various microscopy techniques such as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), spinning disk confocal, and Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy. With ASCB’s COMPASS Outreach grant, she created and curated a Traveling Micrographs exhibit showcasing micrographs by Texas A&M University’s (TAMU) researchers that was free and open to the public. The goal of the series of exhibits was to share research at TAMU with the local community and stimulate interest in imaging science.

Safa Shehab, Professor at United Arab Emirates University

Safa Shehab, Professor at United Arab Emirates University

Safa Shehab is a Professor in the anatomy department and the Director of the electron microscopy and imaging unit at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences of the United Arab Emirates University. In addition to his medical degree, he obtained a PhD from Sheffield University in the UK. He worked at several universities in the UK including UMIST, Sheffield, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, before he joined UAE University. He has published 53 papers in the field of Neuroscience. Five figures from his publications and two images that won NeuroArt competitions have been used as cover pages of international journals in the field of neuroscience.

Siân Culley, Postdoctoral Research Associate, MRC-LMCB, UCL

Siân Culley, Postdoctoral Research Associate, MRC-LMCB, UCL

Siân Culley first started using microscopes in a summer research project in 2009 studying calcium signaling in the mouse cochlea and has been imaging ever since. She did her PhD at University College London, where she developed a novel STED microscopy technique and investigated the underlying photophysics of CW-STED. Since 2014 she has worked as a postdoc at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, UCL, with Professor Ricardo Henriques. Siân is currently developing novel methods for super-resolution microscopy, particularly through open-source image analysis. She also enjoys disseminating these techniques through teaching on courses and conferences, and in conjunction with the Royal Microscopical Society established the "Women in Microscopy" online resource.

Stefan Terjung, Operational Manager of the ALMF at EMBL Heidelberg

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 regularly involved in organizing and teaching courses on light microscopy techniques.

Xiang Yu, Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Peking University, and Investigator of the Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research

Xiang Yu, Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Peking University, and Investigator of the Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research

Xiang Yu's laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanism underlying experience-dependent neural circuit formation and plasticity, especially in the context of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The long term goal of the laboratory is to use this knowledge for the treatment and diagnosis of ASD. Work from the laboratory has been published in journals including Cell, Nature Neuroscience and Neuron. She has received a number of awards, including the Talented Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation of China (2011), the China Young Women Scientists’ Award (2014), Shanghai Leading Talent (2017), and Science and Technology Innovation Leader of the Ten Thousand Talent Program (2018). Professor Yu has the extensive experience and unique insights on confocal microscopic imaging and quantitative image data analysis, and provides significant professional guidance and suggestions for colleagues and students.

Graham Wright, Acting Director, Research Support Centre (RSC), A*STAR, Singapore

Graham Wright, Acting Director, Research Support Centre (RSC), A*STAR, Singapore

Graham holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in cell biology and physics from The University of Edinburgh and an MBA from the Warwick Business School at The University of Warwick. He is the Acting Director of A*STAR’s Research Support Centre (RSC) and the Director of the A*STAR Microscopy Platform (AMP). RSC’s dedicated team aims to equip researchers through its partnerships with over 40 technology platforms and scientific service providers, empower A*STAR’s scientific technology platforms and underpin research operations, ensuring high levels of service. RSC’s activities support biomedical scientists across the Singapore research ecosystem, from A*STAR, academic institutions and industry.

Ikuko Honda, Project Assistant Professor of Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo

Ikuko Koyama-Honda, Project Lecturer of Graduate School and Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo

Ikuko Honda belongs to the Mizushima Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, which has been widely known for its high-level autophagy research results. By utilizing advanced live cell imaging techniques such as single molecule fluorescence imaging, she is mainly responsible for elucidating the molecular mechanism of autophagosome formation. In 2016, she succeeded in visualizing the inner membrane degradation of autophagosome for the first time in the world and was published in Science with Professor Noboru Mizushima as a co-author. Ikuko is highly regarded as an educator as well, and received the 2017 Best Teacher's Award from the University of Tokyo, School of Medicine.

Download Wallpapers for Your Screen

Download Wallpapers

Download the Image of the Year Award 2019 wallpaper package now for free and beautify your screen!

Download the wallpaper package for desktop (ZIP, 33.8 MB)

Download the wallpaper package for mobile (ZIP, 23.7 MB)

Image of the Year 2019 – The Global Winner

IOTY 2019 global winner

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.

See more winners

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 September 15, 2020 and January, 31, 2021.

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 your image might also be depicted in Olympus campaigns worldwide and you grant us the corresponding rights of use. You will be credited as the image creator so please be aware that you have to be the originator of the uploaded images and that images have to be free from any third party rights. Please find the full details in the terms and conditions.

Our jury will judge the submitted images on artistic and visual aspects, scientific impact and microscope proficiency.

Sorry, this page is not
available in your country.

Sorry, this page is not
available in your country.

This site uses cookies to enhance performance, analyze traffic, and for ads measurement purposes. If you do not change your web settings, cookies will continue to be used on this website. To learn more about how we use cookies on this website, and how you can restrict our use of cookies, please review our Cookie Policy.