Art of Science – you won’t believe it until you see it!

12 September 2019
Related topics
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s popular Art of Science exhibition has opened at Melbourne’s Federation Square for its fifth year.
Grey and orange image of cells
A golden net is spun around bloated
spheres of doomed cells in this
striking image, capturing the final
moments of dying breast cells.
Credit: Caleb Dawson

The free exhibition showcases 20 still and moving images captured by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists in the course of their research into cancer, infection and immunity and healthy development and ageing.

The artworks provide visitors with a ‘backstage pass’ into the microscopic world of medical research.

Visitors will experience a rare opportunity to observe intestinal cells devouring themselves; the remarkable changes that occur in breast tissue after menopause; neurons forming vital connections for the brain to function; and a parasite-infected human cell moments before bursting to spread infection.

At a glance

  • Art of Science gives visitors a ‘back-stage pass’ into the laboratory. Visitors will be amazed at the exciting research being done in Melbourne.
  • The unique still and moving images on display offer a rare opportunity to access imagery usually only seen by researchers with access to the most advanced microscopes.
  • Talented Institute researchers will be at the exhibition to shed light on anything that you’ve always wondered about biomedical research.

Healthy competition

Institute director Professor Doug Hilton said the Art of Science exhibition demonstrated how advances in imaging technology were enabling researchers to progress medical discovery.

“Rapid advances in imaging technologies and techniques are helping researchers to visualise intricate biological processes. These incredible insights are enhancing our understanding of how health is maintained, and also how diseases strike and spread,” Professor Hilton said.

The exhibition features finalists and winners from the Institute’s annual Art of Science competition. The competition is an Institute tradition that has been running for more than two decades. This year, science communicator and ABC presenter Nate Byrne toured the Institute and judged the entries.

Visitors to the exhibition are invited to vote for their favourite in the People’s Choice Awards, with all voters going in the running to win a framed print of their favourite work.

Nate Byrne at the Centre for Dynamic Imaging with Niall Geoghegan


ABC presenter Nate Byrne visited the Institute’s Centre for
Dynamic Imaging with Dr Niall Geoghegan. He also judged
the 2019 Art of Science Awards.

Cutting-edge technology

Many of the works in the exhibition are from research collaborations within the Institute’s world-class Centre for Dynamic Imaging. The centre houses more than 16 highly-specialised microscopes, including five confocal microscopes and Australia’s only custom-built lattice light sheet microscope.

Confocal technology can scan images at multiple depths, allowing researchers to create high resolution, 3D cellular imagery from a single cell to a whole organ. Light sheet microscopy is used to image ‘live’ cells because it is incredibly gentle on biological samples. In the past, light used for imaging could be damaging to samples. Now, with technology such as the lattice light sheet, scientists can successfully capture ‘live action’ images and movies of their research in stunning detail.

Institute volunteers will be at the exhibition daily to answer questions and share stories of exploration and discovery. These dedicated and talented researchers are the reason the Institute is a top-ranked Australian medical research institute (Nature Index, 2019).

Congratulations to Art of Science 2019 winners

Art of Science still image category

Art of Science competition winner


Winner: Window into Development by Casey Anttila and Tom Weber


Art of Science competition runner up


2nd place: Radiant by Sabrina Lewis


Art of Science competition runner up


3rd place: Fire and Iris by Stephen Mieruszynski

Art of Science moving image category

Winner: Cellular Furnace by Sophia Davidson
2nd place: Now You See Me, Now You Don’t by Ronnie Low
3rd place: Journey Through the Mammary Duct by Caleb Dawson and Anne Rios



The public also get to have their say. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to vote for their favourite image in the ever popular People’s Choice Awards for the chance to win a framed print of their choice.


See you there

Art of Science

13 – 22 September 2019, 10am–6pm
The Atrium at Federation Square, Melbourne
Entry is free

Institute staff and scientists will be in The Atrium at Federation Square between 10am-6pm throughout the exhibition period, to show visitors around and answer questions.



Media enquiries

M: +61 475 751 811
E: communityrelations@wehi.edu.au

Support us

Together we can create a brighter future

Your support will help WEHI’s researchers make discoveries and find treatments to ensure healthier, longer lives for you and your loved ones.

Sign up to our quarterly newsletter Illuminate

Find out about recent discoveries, community supporters and more.

Illuminate Winter 2024
View the current issue