Leeds researcher takes top spot in national image competition


A University of Leeds researcher has been named the winner of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) image competition.

Fraser Macrae, from University’s School of Medicine, was announced as the judge’s winner in the Reflections of Research competition on Saturday (24 January).

The image, The Clot Thickens, is a detailed view of a blood clot – the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke. The thick grey mesh is the clot, capturing a mixture of different cells, which can be seen in different colours.

The competition gives researchers the opportunity to showcase their ground-breaking work to the public, providing a glimpse into the cutting edge research that the BHF funds.

Fraser’s research looks at how clots are formed in the body. Alongside colleagues at the University, he aims to work out why people with heart and circulatory disease have unusual clot structures that makes clots harder to break down.

Fraser said: “I am an artist as well as a scientist and I wanted to share this remarkable image to highlight the unexpected beauty that can be found in research. I am incredibly happy to have won - all the entries this year have been amazing and really reflect the great research the BHF is funding.

“Scientific research can often be thought of as a bit dry and lacking in beauty. These images show that the opposite is often the case.”

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the BHF, said: “The breathtaking image of a blood clot gives insight into important processes that affect our risk of developing, and recovery from, heart and circulatory diseases like heart attack and stroke.

“These unique insights help us to better understand and research heart and circulatory diseases.”

Dr Jasmine Pradissitto, one of the judges of Reflections of Research, said: “When combined, art and science can help us see things in a way that words alone can rarely match. The heart is both incredibly strong and inherently fragile and, because of images like these, we can learn more about how the heart works, and how to fix it when things go wrong.”

The latest figures from the charity show that more than 215,000 people in the Yorkshire and Humber region are suffering from coronary heart disease – the nation’s single biggest killer and leading cause of heart attack[1]. The BHF currently fund nearly £27 million of research in the region, with £19 million supporting research in the University of Leeds.

The supporters’ favourite, Lifeline, which was voted for by the public on social media, was won by Francesco Iori of Imperial College London.

Further information

The winning images and shortlist below can be viewed online at facebook.com/bhf. The shortlist will also be displayed at Roll out the Red on 10 February, the BHF’s red carpet event to celebrate Heart Month.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the BHF
Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs at the
Science Museum
Dr Daniel Glaser, Director at Science Gallery London
Dr Jasmine Pradissitto,
Quantum artist The Supporters’ Favourite was chosen from an online vote on the BHF Facebook page.

All images have been produced as part of research funded by the BHF.bhf.org.uk/reflections

[1]BHF analysis of 2013/2014 QOF prevalence data

For more information about Reflections of Research visit

The winner was chosen by a panel of judges: