Capturing the beauty of discovery

The beauty of scientific discovery is showcased in the UIC Graduate College’s annual Image of Research competition. The annual event allows graduate students’ research to be seen through breathtaking images.

Breathtaking images from competition winners and honorable mentions will be exhibited from Oct. 28 through Jan. 31 at the Daley Library, then at the Library of the Health Sciences from Feb. 1 through May 15.

The grand opening of the exhibit will be held from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in Room 1-470 of the Daley Library.

“The Image of Research brings together graduate students from disciplines across the campus to celebrate their research ideas and work,” said Kevin Monahan, coordinator of the exhibit and director of graduate program review. “Graduate research at UIC is as diverse as it is deep, and this exhibition brings the field and lab work to a general audience.”

The 2019 winners were chosen out of 95 still image and 10 moving image submissions.

The first-place winner of the still image competition is Danny Principe, an MD/Ph.D. student who works in the biochemistry and molecular genetics department. The winning submission is a moment of disbelief for Principe and his team, who are researching the combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer.

“We looked at tissue harvested from a tumor-bearing mouse treated with our combination chemo-immunotherapy. Green marks the cancer cells themselves, and red marks cells being targeted for destruction by the immune system,” Principe explains.

Principe said his team was convinced that they had the wrong mice in the photograph.

“It was the moment we realized the combination of therapy was really working,” Principe said. “In our lab, we don’t believe our data until we see the facts.”

Second-place winner inthe still image category is “Mist Heist” by Rukmava Chatterjee, a Ph.D. student in mechanical and industrial engineering, who is researching delaying ice and frost forming using phase‐switching liquids.

“Stripped from moist air, water droplets show very low adhesion and effortlessly roll down the subcooled coated surface, thereby harvesting water,” Chatterjee said.

The moving image first-place winner, Dani Bergey a UIC grad in biomedical visualization, focused on turning complex biology concepts into visual art. Her video captures how a monitoring device for HIV works.

“The value in sharing this animation is that it could encourage scientists and medical professionals to think about how they can communicate their own science visually, and to understand that complex subjects need more time than others to refine the story you’re telling,” Bergey said.

“I have always enjoyed speaking to researchers that understand the opportunity to tell a story or to make something beautiful out of their research.”

A wide selection of graduate students captured images of their research and submitted them to the multidisciplinary jury, who considered visual appeal, originality and the relationship between the research with the image captured.