Past exhibition: How do we look?

'How do we look?' web banner

How do we look?

The Crick's first public exhibition was 'How do we look?' It allowed the public to enter the world of biomedical imaging as our scientists moved into their new labs.

The exhibition offered a tantalising glimpse into the kind of research Crick scientists will conduct through the display of 12 striking images.

Featured scientists

Each week, we shared some of the content featured in the exhibition How do we look?, starting with an image created by Dr Adam Rabionwitz of the Bioinformatics Core and Dr Yasutaka Kakui from our Chromosome Segregation Laboratory.

Adam Rabinowitz.jpgYasu Kakui_sm.jpg


Visualising the 3D structure of DNA within the nucleus, 2015.

This image is deceptively simple. It may not immediately look like it, but what you are viewing is the genome of a yeast cell. The genome is only 0.5mm in length and contains all the genetic material needed to build a yeast cell, which is packed inside a nucleus roughly 0.003mm in diameter.

Listen to Adam and Yasu explain how and why they collaborated to create this image:


Listen to Adam and Yasu talk about why they are excited about moving to the Crick:


Next up we have Dr Anne Weston, a Senior Laboratory Research Scientist from the Crick's Electron Microscopy Science Technology Platform.

Anne Weston

HDWL Anne Weston image

Blood cells, 2006

This image of a blood clot was captured by an electron microscope. It shows a single white blood cell (coloured light blue) surrounded by red blood cells trapped in a mesh-like structure called fibrin (brown), which helps prevent blood loss by forming clots. 

Listen to Anne explain how and why she created this image:


Listen to Anne talk about what most excites her about moving to the Crick:


Jonathon Hannabuss works in the Synthetic and Systems Biochemistry of the Microtubule Cytoskeleton Laboratory, which is led by Dr Thomas Surrey.

Jonathon Hannabuss

HDWL Jonathon Hannabuss image.jpg

All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace, 2016

Inside you right now are trillions of tiny machines called molecular motors. They take the chemical energy locked away in food and turn it into mechanical energy  that they then use to pull, push and walk along thin cellular  fibres, or the cytoskeleton, of every  cell.   

This image is the end result of an experiment that involved recreating the interaction of  molecular motors with  a specific type of cytoskeleton fibre called microtubules.

Listen to Jonathon explain how and why he created this image:


Listen to Jonathon talk about why he's excited about the moving to the Crick:


Dr Annick Sawala is a Postdoctoral Training Fellow in the Physiology and Medicine Laboratory run by Dr Alex Gould.

Annick Sawala portrait

Annick Sawala image

Fat droplets in liver-like cells of the fruit fly, 2016

The cells depicted here are from a Drosophila fruit fly larva, which Dr Annick Sawala fasted for 24 hours before studying how it responds to a temporary lack of food. 

In creating this image, Annick was particularly interested in observing the formation of the green blobs, which are small spheres of fat, known as lipid droplets. Their appearance indicates that there has been an important change in fat metabolism.

Listen to Annick explain how and why she created this image:


The next image is from Dr Charlie Swanton, Head of the Translational Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory.  

Charlie Swanton.jpg

Charlie Swanton diagram

Graphical cancer genetics

For Dr Charlie Swanton and his team, diagrams such as the one above form part of a long term investigation into how tumours change genetically over space and time - and what impact this has on patient outcome and response to therapy.   

The 'genetic tree' that can be seen above represents an advanced cancer tumour of the kidney found in a patient.

Listen to Charlie explain why and how he created this image:


Dr Oliver Schulz, from the Immunobiology Laboratory led by Prof Caetano Reis e Sousa, collaborated with Colin Gray from the Light Microscopy Science Technology Platform to produce a video that features in the exhibition. 

Oliver Schulz.jpg

Oliver Schulz image.jpg

This is a still from Oliver's movie that provides a fascinating insight into the microscopic world of the immune system.  It was made as part of an investigation into how cancer cells are sensed by  dendritic cells, the watchmen of the immune system. These cells constantly patrol tissues and monitor their environment for signs of stress, including cell death. Dying cells release signals that alert immune cells such as dendritic cells to the potential threat of infectious organisms or cancer cells. 

Listen to Oliver explain why and how he created the movie:


Next up is Dr Eva Frickel, head of the Host-Toxoplasma Interaction Laboratory, who collaborated with  Dr Barbara Clough to create the image below. 

Eva Frickel.jpg

Eva Frickel image

The parasite  Toxoplasma  gondii is everywhere. It  can be found in soil, on raw meat and  on  unwashed food,  but  its primary host is the cat.     

When an animal or person is infected by the  Toxoplasma parasite, it reacts by sending a signal to tell its cells to put their defences up. The signal is carried by a molecule called cytokine gamma interferon.   

In this image,  Dr Eva Frickel added  the  interferon to human cells,  before infecting them with different strains and strengths of the  Toxoplasma  parasite, in order to learn  more about  how the body defends itself. 

Listen to Eva explain more about this image:


Dr Patrick Collins is an Investigator Scientist in the Structural Biology of Disease Processes Laboratory led by Dr Steve Gamblin.

Patrick Collins.jpg

Patrick Collins_image.jpg

Animating Influenza

Scientists at the Crick are researching influenza at a molecular level to help develop new vaccines and flu medicines. 

The image above is a still from an animation that shows the interaction between a protein known as haemagglutinin, which helps the influenza virus to recognise and infect human cells, and a human antibody called MEDI8852. Antibodies are made by our immune system to help fight infection.

Visit the exhibition to watch the animation and hear Patrick explain how and why he created it.


Dr Timothy Mohun is head of the Heart Development Laboratory.

Mohun portrait

Tim Mohun film still

A voyage through the developing heart

This image is a still from a film showing a journey through the inside of a mouse embryo's heart. It was created by Dr Timothy Mohun, who leads a team of scientists investigating how the heart develops before birth.

Listen to Tim explain why and how he created the film:


Listen to Tim explain what moving to the Crick means to him:


Next up is Dr Paola Scaffidi,  head of the  Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory here at the Crick.

Paola Scaffidi_portrait.jpg


Not just a ball of cells

This striking  image of cancer tissue  illustrates  the irregularity  and diversity of  tumoursIt was created by Dr Paola Scaffidi,  who  is  studying  how  the processes that determine  how cells use  their DNA affects cancer development

Listen to Paola describe how and why she created this image:

Listen to Paola describe what the move to the Crick means for her 


This week we look at Dr Martin Jones, who works in the Electron Microscopy Science Technology Platform led by Dr Lucy Collinson, and his collaoboration with Dr Andreas Schertel (Carl Zeiss AG, Oberkochen).

Martin Jones_portrait.jpg

Martin Jones_Film still

Big data, little cell

This image is a still comes from a film created by Martin. It is of a HeLa cell, a type of cancer cell.

The film is a great example of how our equipment can be used to create 3D visualisations of materials at the nano-scale. We are first shown the internal structure of a HeLa cell, imaged slice by slice, before the film moves on to depict the same cell in 3D. As it rotates, we can appreciate its fine structure including the thin filopodia 'hairs', which are used by the cell to sense its surrounding environment.

Listen in to find out why and how Martin made this film: