PhD student Elisabeth Gill wins second prize in Engineering photography competition

28 November 2017

Lucy Cavendish PhD student Elisabeth Gill has won Second Prize in the annual photography competition held by the Department of Engineering. She won the award for her striking image of micro-scale fibres drawn from a viscous gelatin solution across a 3D printed PLA (Polylactic Acid) support structure – the sparkly material you can see along the top of the image.

The goal of Elisabeth’s work is to integrate an open source 3D printing platform and a low voltage electrospinning technique to create high resolution, 3D biomaterial fibre 'architectures' to act as part of a tissue scaffold for 3D cell culture.

Elisabeth said:

“The sample that is pictured is actually an example of the technique I've been developing gone hilariously wrong! What I was aiming for was fibres of uniform size and spacing, that are as small as possible. That sample is a beautiful mess! When I took this microscope photo I was going through a period of PhD doldrums, despite this sample being a disaster I couldn't help smiling at how otherworldly it looked under the microscope. I've since figured out what I had been doing wrong, fixed the problem and am soon submitting a paper I have written on the method."

Looking at it now reminds me of how much progress I have made with my research in the last year.”

The competition, sponsored by ZEISS (Scanning electron microscopy division), international leaders in the fields of optics and optoelectronics, has been held annually for the last 13 years. The panel of judges included Roberto Cipolla, Professor of Information Engineering, Dr Allan McRobie, Reader in Engineering, Professor David Cardwell, Head of Department and Philip Guildford, Director of Strategy and Operations.

Philip Guildford said:

“Once again, I am blown away by the quality of the submissions we received for the photo competition. Each of these images and video tells a story about the work that our faculty, researchers, students and staff are doing to advance our understanding of the world, and each of those stories is told beautifully.”

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