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A bloodcurdling image with impact

21 Nov 2014

Our researchers win prize in photo competition

Healthy red blood cell in fibrin fibres

This amazing image was runner up in the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Images With Impact photo competition.

Entered by a research team led by Professors Douglas Kell from the School of Chemistry and Resia Pretorius from The University of Pretoria, it shows what happens when our bodies are wounded.

When a wound occurs, the body reacts by activating the ‘clotting cascade’. A fibrin fibre network is formed that, much like a fisherman’s net, entraps red blood cells (RBCs) to prevent the body from bleeding profusely.

Healthy individuals, without cardiovascular disease, have disc-shaped RBCs, covered by individual fibrin fibres, shown in this image of a 63-year-old healthy male RBC. In cardiovascular disease, RBCs twist around and are entrapped in thick, matted fibrin that may block vessels and lead to stroke.

The BBSRC launched the competition, seeking the best images that showcase UK bioscience and its importance in everyday life, as part of its 20th anniversary programme.

The image was displayed at the Great British Bioscience Festival and can be seen at: