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24 October 2023

Researcher's image of the heart wins major competition

A colourful image of the heart has pipped competition to the post at an annual competition organised by the British Heart Foundation.

paths of the heart

Created by Dr Marina Strocchi, the image wowed judges and took home the top prize at the BHF’s annual ‘Reflections of Research’ image competition. Named ‘Paths of the heart’, the image was taken as part of Marina’s work at King’s which she is now continuing at Imperial College London.

The multicoloured structure, generated by a computer model, is a map of bundles of cells that together make up the heart muscle. These bundles, each shown by a separate line, transmit the electrical signal that causes the heart to beat. The direction each line is pointing indicates the direction the electrical signal travels.

The signal starts in the two top chambers of the heart (the atria) and moves to the bottom two (the ventricles). By accurately modelling the heartbeat signal as it passes through the heart, Marina can simulate how an individual patient’s heart works, to better predict how they will respond to different treatments.

I am thrilled that my entry was chosen by the judges as this year’s winner. It is great to be able to share the beautiful side of my research."

Dr Marina Strocchi, BHF-funded scientist

“In our research, computer models help doctors understand so much more about diseases of the heart. By simulating how electrical activity spreads through the heart, following the direction shown in the picture, to then trigger a heartbeat, we can predict how specific patients will respond to treatments to personalise and adjust how we care for them.”

The annual ‘Reflections of research’ competition challenges BHF-funded scientists to put forward the most awe-inspiring image taken as part of their research into cardiovascular health and disease. Each offers a stunning insight into their crucial work.