The BRAIN Initiative Photo and Video Contest

 

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2024 Contest Submission Form
Submit your most creative, beautiful, and inspiring neuroscience research images and short videos today!

The field of neuroscience has progressed immensely since the days of Ramón y Cajal's intricate hand-drawn illustrations over a century ago. We can now capture the intricate beauty and wonder of the brain through technological advancements.

As we mark the moment of 10 years of BRAIN-funded science, we invite neuroscientists from diverse disciplines, career stages, and funding sources to enter your most creative, beautiful, and inspiring images (1-10 MB) or short videos (<30 s) of your research in the 2024 BRAIN Initiative Photo and Video Contest. (Formally, the BRAIN Initiative's Show Us Your BRAINs! Photo & Video Contest). Help us showcase the art, science, and beauty of neuroscience research!

Submissions will be accepted until 5:00 pm (ET) on Monday, April 15, 2024. The 2024 Program Committee for the 10th Annual BRAIN Initiative Conference will review anonymized submissions and select the entries that they feel capture the creative spirit of the BRAIN Initiative. Then, the finalists will be posted online for public voting. Winners will be announced at the 10th Annual BRAIN Initiative Conferencewith prizes! Need some inspiration? Check out previous years' winners below and details in The Art of the BRAIN: Snapshots from the 2022 Contest article.

Eligibility and Rules

Please follow the rules carefully. Submissions that do not follow the rules listed below will not be considered.

  • Any individual or team is eligible to submit one photo and one video entry.
  • At the time of submission, participants must be 18 years or older after March 25, 2024.
  • Winners of the 2022 and 2023 BRAIN Initiative Photo & Video Contests are not eligible to win this year but are welcome to submit.
  • Participants do not need to participate in the 10th Annual BRAIN Initiative Conference to enter or win.

Evaluation Criteria

After the contest closes for submissions, the 2024 Program Committee for the 10th Annual BRAIN Initiative Conference will review anonymized submissions to narrow down the field to the top 6 photos and top 6 videos to entries they feel capture the creative spirit of the U.S. BRAIN Initiative.

Entries will be evaluated on:

  • Aesthetics
  • Creativity
  • Relevance to the U.S. BRAIN Initiative and/or field of neuroscience

Following the committee review, photo and video finalists will be displayed and open for public voting on NIH BRAIN Initiative website. All entries will be made anonymousonly the photos or videos will be accessible, and voters will be masked to contest participants' names, affiliations, and all other personal information. The first, second, and third place winners (confirmed by NIH BRAIN Initiative Director Dr. John Ngai following the public vote) will be announced during the 10th Annual BRAIN Initiative Conference.

Prizes

The top three photo and video winners will receive a certificate recognizing their accomplishment, recognition during the 10th Annual BRAIN Initiative Conference, and will have their submissions posted on the NIH BRAIN Initiative website. In addition, the finalists will have a chance to be featured in our popular BRAIN Initiative calendar.

 

2024 BRAIN Initiative Calendar

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2024 BRAIN Initiative Calendar cover of a row of green fluorescent Purkinje neurons in the mouse cerebellum.
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2024 BRAIN Initiative Calendar
The 2024 BRAIN Initiative Calendar is available! Request a free copy or download the PDF version.

 

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2024 BRAIN Initiative Calendar displaying all 12 months on a single page.
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2024 BRAIN Initiative Single-Page Calendar
The 2024 BRAIN Initiative Calendar is also available as a single-page version for download.

 

 

Past Winners

Check out the winning entries from past contests below.

2023 Winners

 Video Winners

First Place
Simian Symphony: Ripple Assemblies During Rest by Kari Hoffman, Tyler Sloan, Saman Abbaspoor, Vanderbilt University

Second Place
Functional Ultrasound Localization Microscopy by Alexandre Dizeux, Physics for Medicine Paris

Third Place
Synaptic Balance by Scalable Minds

 

Photo Winners

First Place - Dark Commute at 4am
A confocal image of sparse GCaMP6f-expressing Purkinje cells in mouse cerebellum resembles the industrious contours of pre-dawn commuters.

Second Place - Premotor Neurons Controlling the Fruit Fly Leg
by Andrew Cook, Jasper Phelps, Anthony Azevedo, Ellen Lesser, Leila Elabbady, Brandon Pratt, Wei-Chung Allen Lee, John Tuthill, University of Washington and Harvard Medical School 

Third Place - Memory Lanes
by Tyler Ard, USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute

 

2022 Winners

 

Video Winners

 

First Place

Neurons In Action
Functional activity measured in vivo with 2-Photon imaging with matching morphologies from the same neurons measured with electron microscopy.​

By Andreas Tolias, Jacob Reimer, R.J. Cotton, Xaq Pitkow, Nuno da Costa, Forrest Collman, Clay Reid, and Sebastian Seung, Baylor College of Medicine, Allen Institute, Princeton University, Northwestern University/Shirley Ryan Ability Lab

 


Second Place

Ictal Cinema
Transforming intracranial recordings of an ongoing seizure into a heatmap (line length transform) using a reconstruction of the patient's own brain.​

By Jon Kleen, University of California San Francisco


Third Place

Pyramidal Christmas Tree
A rendering of an electron microscope reconstruction of a layer 5 cortical neuron from the MICrONs dataset, where input synapses are blinking lights.​

By Forrest Collman, Allen Institute for Brain Science


Photo Winners

 

First Place

The Intersection of Memory and Memory
Two memories captured under the microscope. Peering into the hippocampus of a mouse using viral technology and optogenetics.​

By Stephanie Grella, Boston University


Second Place

Mindmap – The Intricate Wiring of The Human Brain
Brain activity is orchestrated by propagating information between brain regions through fiber tracts, visualized via diffusion MRI tractography.​

By Sahar Ahmad, Ye Wu, and Pew-Thian Yap, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Third Place

Zebrafish Brain Thinking Abraham Lincoln
Image taken from a Zebrafish brain tissue section, synaptophysin as the primary antibody, Alexa555 and DAPI as secondary antibody, and looks like Abraham Lincoln's side profile.​

By Esengül Öztürk, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University

 

2021 Winners

Download the 2022 BRAIN Initiative single page calendar(pdf, 5983 KB) featuring the top entries from the 2021 BRAIN Initiative Photo & Video Contest.

Video Winners

 

First Place

DBS Lead Placement for OCD
360 degree view of deep brain stimulation (DBS) lead placement in one participant that underwent DBS surgery for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

By Nicole Provenza, Raissa Mathura, Noam Peled, Evan Dastin-van Rijn, Kelly Bijanki, Sameer Sheth, David Borton, Wayne Goodman, Brown University, Baylor College of Medicine

 


Second Place (TIE)

Pyramidal Tract Reconstruction in Vivo
Pyramidal tract of an HCP subject reconstructed in vivo using Radial DSI and ODF-Fingerprinting. Improved reconstruction of fibers crossing at shallow angles ensured by ODF-Fingerprinting allowed to reproduce the reach fanning shape of cortical terminations of the tract. Images were rendered in DSI Studio.

By Patryk Filipiak, Timothy Shepherd, Ying-Chia Lin, Dimitris G. Placantonakis, Fernando E. Boada, Steven H. Baete, New York University School of Medicine


Second Place (TIE)

Non-invasive in vivo Mapping of the Human Amygdala Circuit
Tractography of three critical amygdala pathways: the ventral amygdalofugal pathway, the stria terminalis and then amygdala-prefrontal pathway.

By Josue Avecillas-Chasin, Ausaf Bari, Jean-Philippe Langevin, University of California, Los Angeles

 


Third Place

Reconstructed Mouse Cervical Spinal Cord
Serially sectioned spinal cord with marked coordinates of V1-Interneurons and cells infected by neuronal tracer pseudorabies virus -3D reconstructed.

By Jamie Anne Mortel, Salk Institute


Photo Winners

 

First Place

Thinking About a Greener Future
Mouse brain showing green AAV-transduced cells in the cortex and hippocampus. Neurons are labeled red and nuclei are blue.

By Allen Yen, Washington University School of Medicine


Second Place

Model of Mouse V1 with a Neuropixels Probe
This rendering of a model of mouse primary visual cortex with a Neuropixels probe was created using a new tool, VND (Visual Neuronal Dynamics).

By Barry Isralewitz, John Stone, Mariano Spivak, Kael Dai, Josh Siegle, Emad Tajkhorshid, and Anton Arkhipov, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Allen Institute


Third Place

Neuron on Fire
Hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neuron in the mouse, recorded from the distal dendrite using patch clamp electrophysiology. The recorded location is visible as the gap in the dendrite. The neuron was filled with biocytin during recording and immunostained with streptavidin-647 post hoc. Confocal image was filtered using ImageJ.

By Olesia Bilash, New York University

2020 Winners

Download the 2021 BRAIN Initiative single page calendar(pdf, 2289 KB) featuring the top entries from the 2020 BRAIN Initiative Photo & Video Contest.

Video Winners

 

Video file

First Place

Intact Whole-brain Imaging of Neurons
Thy1-GFP mouse brain optically cleared and imaged with the Zeiss Light-sheet Z.1 microscope using a Mesoscale Imaging System.

By Sunil Gandhi, Ricardo Azevedo and Damian Wheeler, University of California, Irvine and Translucence Biosystems


Video file

Second Place

Reconstructing the Mind of a Worm
The C. elegans brain, including every nerve and muscle fiber, being reconstructed by serial-section electron microscopy.

By Daniel Witvliet, University of Toronto and Harvard University


Video file

Third Place

Fly Through a Fly Brain
These cells were reconstructed by artificial intelligence from Princeton University's Murthy Seung Lab using electron microscope images HHMI Janelia.

By Amy Sterling, Princeton University and EyeWire


Photo Winners

 

First Place

Cortical Forest
Mouse Layer V cortical neurons eYFP-labeled (Thy1-H) and imaged after CLARITY processing of a whole brain. Maximum projection with depth color coding.

By Linus Manubens-Gil and Jim Swoger, Centre de Regulació Genòmica (CRG) and EMBL Mesoscopic Imaging Facility


Second Place

Radiating Neurons
4-week-old rat cortical neurons labeled for dendrites (red), axons (green), and nuclei (blue).

By Karthik Krishnamurthy, Davide Trotti, and Piera Pasinelli, Thomas Jefferson University


Third Place

The Ephemeral Hippocampus
The brain is everywhere to us neuroscientists. This exquisite 'hippocampus', with delicate dendrites, is actually a waterdrop captured at highspeed.

By Tallie Z. Baram, Jeremy Barry, and Joan Morris, University of California, Irvine, © 2017 Joan Morris

2019 Winners

 
Video Winners

 

Video file

First Place

High-Resolution MORF3-labeled Hippocampal Neurons
Using MORF3 and SHIELD, pyramidal neurons were sparsely labeled and imaged at very high resolution deep within a whole hemisphere.

By X. William Yang and Kwanghun (KC) Chung, University of California, Los Angeles and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Video file

Second Place

3D Diffusion Tractography
In neuroscience, tractography is a 3D modeling technique used to visually represent nerve tracts using data collected by diffusion MRI.

By James Stanis, University of Southern California Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute


Video file

Third Place

Neural Circuit in The Storm
3D image of parvalbumin+ neurons (red, neurites; green, presynaptic puncta) swimming through the waves of GAD1+ (cyan) neurons.

By Young-Gyun Park, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Photo Winners

 

First Place

Light Me Up!
Light-based rendering of deep brain stimulation’s electrical excitation of neuronal fiber pathways to treat patients with traumatic brain injury.

By Andrew Janson, University of Utah Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute


Second Place

Dancing Devils
Mouse hippocampal neuron stained for f-actin (red) and tubulin (green).

By Sharada Tilve, NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)


Third Place

Neural Circuit in The Storm
3D image of parvalbumin+ neurons (red, neurites; green, presynaptic puncta) swimming through the waves of GAD1+ (cyan) neurons.

By Young-Gyun Park, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)