This Watercolor of Ebola Was Named the Best Scientific Image of the Year

Wellcome / Wellcome

The winners from this year's Wellcome Image Awards include pictures captured with electron microscopy, x-ray computed tomography, and thermal imaging. But the submission named best scientific image of the year was created using watercolor and ink, FastCoDesign reports.

The award-winning illustration of an Ebola virus particle was the work of David Goodsell, an associate professor of molecular biology at the Scripps Research Institute. He became interested in illustrating molecular structures by hand after he realized that 3D visualization technology wasn't capable of capturing the level of detail he wanted. More examples of his scientific artwork can be seen in the RCSB Protein Data Bank.

For his Ebola painting, Goodsell chose to depict a cross section of the virus to showcase its interior. The pink and purple portion represents a cell membrane that's been hijacked from its host, and the outer layer of tree-like structures in turquoise are the proteins that latch onto infected cells. The RNA holding the virus' genetic information is depicted in yellow along its green core.

Goodsell's picture is one of 20 winning images from this year's awards, all of which are available through Creative Commons for free use. The physical images are being displayed at science institutions around the world, including the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow, the Cambridge Science Center, and MIT. If you can't manage to see them in person, you can view more of the winning imagery below.

Images courtesy of Wellcome.

[h/t Fast Company]