Leading Birmingham scientists are celebrating after being highly commended in ‘Reflections of Research’, a national image and video competition run by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The entries provide a snapshot of the incredible life-saving work undertaken by BHF-funded heart scientists in the UK.

The charity invited its funded scientists – from over 1,000 projects – to submit the most interesting and eye-opening images and videos produced in the course of their work. The competition showcases the extraordinary achievements of BHF-funded scientists working tirelessly to beat heart disease.

Dr William Moody from the University of Birmingham produced an MRI scan of a healthy kidney donor’s heart. He uses this technique to look for possible early scarring on the heart. By better detecting any effects on the heart caused by having a single kidney, doctors could, if needed, begin treatment  sooner.

MRI Scan of a health Kidney donor's heart

The image is of an MRI of the heart of a healthy Kidney donor. The MRI technique is sensitive enough to detect early scar formation. The scan can pick up if there are any changes in the heart after donating an kidney, which could potentially be treated with medication. 

Dr Moody said:

“We were absolutely delighted to have our work recognised in this year's Reflections of Research competition. Our image was created using an exciting new type of MRI sequence called "T1 mapping". With this technology we can detect scarring within the heart muscle without the need for patients to undergo a biopsy for tissue.

“Studies show that kidney donors tend to be healthier, and live longer, than the general population. But we’re keen to know whether the reduction in kidney function that accompanies donation, has any adverse long-term effects on the heart. If so, and we could detect these early then they could be treated effectively.”

The winning images and videos were chosen by a panel including BBC Health and science reporter James Gallagher, BHF Chief Executive Simon Gillespie and BHF Medical Director Professor Peter Weissberg

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the BHF, said:

“This isn’t just visually arresting art; this image is a reflection of our life-saving research, which makes it even more beautiful.”

“These Birmingham researchers are not just flexing their artistic muscles by creating this stunning image. They are also working tirelessly to understand more about cardiovascular disease, to help the thousands of people in Birmingham, and across the UK, who are needlessly suffering. Their work is vital and we urgently need your support to fund their research.”

You can find all the winning images and videos on the British Heart Foundation's website.