Published On: Sat, Jan 24th, 2015 on 12:04 am

The Clot Thickens: Leeds researcher stuns judges with striking close-up image

Fraser Macrae The Clot Thickens

A segment of ‘The Clot Thickens’.

A researcher from the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds has been announced the winner of a national image competition for his close-up of a blood clot.

Fraser Macrae beat off stiff competition from entries submitted nationwide to win Reflections of Research, an annual researcher image competition hosted by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Fraser Macrae The Clot Thickens

The full image.

His photo was named ‘The Clot Thickens’ depicting a detailed view of a blood clot, which is also the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.

The thick grey mesh is the clot, capturing a mixture of different cells – seen in different colours.

“I am an artist as well as a scientist”

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.”

Dr Jasmine Pradissitto, one of the competition judges, 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.”

Unique insights

Fraser’s research aims to better understand how clots are formed in the body.

Alongside colleagues at the University of Leeds, he wants to work out why people with heart and circulatory disease have unusual clot structures that make clots harder to break down.

If researchers find a way to make people form more normal clots, it could lead to benefits in the prevention and treatment of heart and circulatory disease.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the BHF, said: “The breath-taking 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.

“From micro bio-engineering to help cells assemble and build tissue, through to bringing techniques from aircraft design to examine flow patterns in blood vessels, these stunning images show how we’re now able to see inside the body in intricate detail. These unique insights help us to better understand and research heart and circulatory diseases.”

The BHF currently fund nearly £27 million of research in the Yorkshire and Humber region, with £19 million supporting research in the University of Leeds.

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