‘Research Through a Lens’ Photography Competition Finalists

The Grad Fest committee received 39 incredible photos from QMUL PhD students for the ‘Research Through a Lens’ Photography Competition. Applicants were required to capture their research in one shot and write a 100-word accompanying blurb to describe it.

It was extremely difficult to shortlist to 10 photographs for the launch reception exhibition, but after much deliberation the below photographs were selected.

Once displayed, a panel of six people chose the top three prize winners who received £100, £50 and £25. They were announced at the launch reception by Prof Jon May, Director of the Doctoral College.


Kseniya Shuturminska. rose

Kseniya Shuturminska
Scanning electron microscope, QMUL Nanovision Centre
27th March 2015

This is a coloured image of an apatite mineral which was grown on a glass slide in the presence of proteins. One of the proteins I am using causes the mineral to grow in different directions, forming rose structures. My project is looking at making self-assembled systems out of organic material that can grow enamel-like mineral (apatite). We want to use these systems in order to remineralise tooth decay.


Danniella Samos photo competition

Danniella Samos
Linguistics Lab in the Arts Research Centre, QMUL
30th May 2015

My interdisciplinary study looks at how the aetiology of obesity is constructed through language in different text types, including news media, policy and personal narratives. Previous research has shown that attribution of responsibility for obesity is often placed on individuals rather than societal factors. This emphasis on personal choice is represented here by the gun (Nobody is putting a gun to your head!). Another common theme is the positioning of women as the main consumers of weight reduction products, as symbolised by the image on the computer screen, which is juxtaposed with the covered up sitter.


Suzanne Solley

Suzy Solley
Nuwakot District, Nepal
25th May 2014

Historically, Hindu widows have been treated with animosity. Societal oppression emanates from the belief that a widow’s bad karma must have caused her husband’s death, the result of which was her having to commit sati. Sati was a historic Hindu tradition where widows committed suicide by jumping on their husband’s funeral pyre. Although sati is now abolished, conservative traditions related to widowhood till persist. Among these is the expectation that widows should wear white so they can be easily identified. However, these women are becoming ever more colourful. Through colour they defy their historic discrimination and demonstrate their multiple identities. My research investigates these diverse identities and the complex ways they exert agency.


Ambika Kumar

Ambika Kumar
Fogg Building, Mile End, QMUL
18th May 2015

As a microbiologist, much of my work is done by looking under a microscope. Depicted is the lens of a microscope with T. brucei cells in the centre of the photo. T. brucei is a parasite that causes a condition called Trypanosomiasis. My PhD focuses on understanding the workings of this parasite with my main focus on understanding how these parasites repair damage to DNA. By looking at parasites under the microscope, I can achieve many different experiments including testing drugs against these cells and seeing how they behave under different conditions.

David Bennett

David Bennett

My research focuses on the ecosystem-level impacts of deforestation and conversion in Borneo from forest to oil palm, especially on bats and their prey. For this I spend 3 months per year catching bats and collecting faecal samples, before using DNA barcoding in the UK to identify what each animal has been feeding on. The species I study are forest-interior specialists and it’s not known the impact that deforestation will have on them. This photo was taken at a newly cut road, built for the extraction of timber from the forest, the background showing both forest and oil palm plantation.

Dexu Kong Epidermal cell layer forming focal adhesions and stress fibres to adhere to a substrate

Dexu Kong
School of Engineering and Materials Science
27th May 2015

Controlling cell adhesion to a surface is essential for tissue engineering. To do that cells use a network of cables, the cytoskeleton, that “hook” them to the surface of biomaterials or implants. This image shows, at high resolution, the fine structure of this network. Blue, nuclei; Green, vinculin; Red, F-actin. The image was obtained by super resolution microscopy.

Fearon Cassidy

Féaron Cassidy
Heart Centre Basement, CHSQ.
18th December 2014

This is a section through a late gestation mouse embryo. It shows some recognisable features; the developing brain, heart, liver, foot and a little of the umbilical cord and placenta. However, there is a depot of brown fat developing on the left hand side of the picture, around the shoulder area, that is the focus of my research. I look at how fat develops in-utero to try and better understand how this effects our health in adulthood. Mice are very similar to humans and looking at how their fat develops will hopefully help us to better understand obesity-related diseases.

Hui Gao-photo

Hui Gao
Nanovision, Queen Mary University of London
3rd October 2014

NaOH crystals with one-dimension morphology aggregate and assemble together into a beautiful bulk particle, which looks like fluffy fox’s tails. With the aid of scanning electron microscope, we could see that the world of nanomaterials is as wonderful as the real world. Particularly, we could use these amazing nanoparticles to modify, enhance and improve chemical or physical properties of particles with big size.

Lowri Evans

Lowri Evans
Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree National Park, California

The photo was taken on a fieldtrip with fellow PhD students from the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Joshua Tree National Park, California. The fieldtrip was aimed at developing our field research skills before embarking on our own projects within environmental sciences. This was a great opportunity to develop our PhD cohort (which includes students from across several London Universities) and learn about interesting research from other branches of environmental sciences. A reminder that training and networking are vital parts of developing as a researcher!

Jingyuan Zhu-jpg

Jingyuan Zhu
Nano-vision, Bancroft Building
October 2014

Carbon Nanotube is allotropes of carbon with a cylindrical nanostructure. It has a same chemical composition as diamond, graphene. Actually, carbon nanotube can be made by wrapping a single layer of graphene. It has drew attention from physicists, chemists, and engineers for its special mechanical, thermal, and electrical characteristics. Shown in the image is the salt crystallizing together with the carbon nanotube on the surface. The salt would only crystallize when the temperature is low but stable. The tube here is working as starting point for the crystal.


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