Press release

Winner of the 2016 Wellcome Image Awards announced

The Ebola virus, captured in watercolour and ink, has been selected as the overall winner for the 2016 Wellcome Image Awards.

This intricate painting by David Goodsell shows in minute detail the internal structure of this tiny, notoriously lethal virus. The central core is drawn in three dimensions so that you can see its structure more clearly, a view only possible through illustration.

Fergus Walsh, BBC Medical Correspondent and member of the judging panel said "This is a stunning illustration of a deadly pathogen – a cross-section through an Ebola virus particle. The judges felt that this watercolour and ink image elegantly displayed the biological structure of the virus that has caused such devastation in West Africa."

It is one of 20 winning images that were selected to reward and showcase the best in science image making from all those acquired by the Wellcome Images picture library in the past year.

This year's awards also saw the launch of the Julie Dorrington Award for outstanding photography in a clinical environment. This was awarded to David Bishop for his photograph of a premature baby receiving light therapy. The baby is bathed in the blue glow of ultra violet light which is being used to treat jaundice, quite a common condition in newborn babies.

Fergus Walsh added: "The whole image is cast in a beautiful blue light – the judges felt it perfectly captured the vulnerability of a newborn, whilst keeping a respectful and discreet distance from the subject."

Catherine Draycott, Head of Wellcome Images and chair of the judging panel said "Both the overall winner and the Julie Dorrington winner combine technology and creativity to communicate science and medicine. David Goodsell uses detailed data and his scientific knowledge along with his talent as an artist to reveal the structure and function of Ebola, while David Bishop combines his skill and sensitivity to show a newborn baby cradled in a pool of therapeutic light emanating from sophisticated equipment".

The awards were presented at a ceremony at the Science Museum in London on 15 March, where the images are now on show to the public. Other award-winning images include pathways of nerve fibres in the brain, delicate golden scales on a Madagascan sunset moth and a digitally reconstructed skeleton showing atheroma, the 'furring up' of arteries that supply blood to the brain which can cause stroke.

16 science centres, museums and galleries, from the Eden Project in Cornwall to Aberdeen Science Centre, will be displaying the winning images in their own styles to spark imaginations everywhere. This year the images will also be appearing as far afield as the Africa Centre for Population Health in South Africa and the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow, Russia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in USA.

The images are available to view on the Wellcome Image Awards website along with the stories behind the images and their creators. The images already feature in Wellcome Images collections, where they can be accessed and used along with more than 40,000 other contemporary biomedical and clinical images. The Awards were established in 1997 to reward contributors to the collection for their outstanding work.

Since 2011 Wellcome Images have also partnered with the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, bringing images of their work into the Awards. This year, each organisation will feature an image from their respective selections in the other's awards and provide a judge for each. More information about the Koch Institute Public Galleries and Image Awards can be found on their website.