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UCL researchers win award at the Royal Photographic Society Awards 2023

25 October 2023

An interdisciplinary team from UCL has been recognised with a prestigious photography prize for their work developing new techniques to view the internal workings of human organs.

A confocal microscopy image of the urinary filtration apparatus of the developing kidney.

Professor David Long, Dr Daniyal Jafree (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health) and Dr Claire Walsh (UCL Mechanical Engineering) collected the Combined Royal Colleges Medal for their advances in imaging to better understand kidney disease.

Using a revolutionary technology called Hierarchical Phase-Contrast Tomography (HiP-CT) and through the Human Organ Atlas project, the interdisciplinary team of engineers, biologists and clinicians made it possible to view the entire human kidney in three dimensions. This allowed them to zoom down to the level of individual kidney filters and vessels. This new technique will now be applied to kidney disease to provide an overall picture of how the structure of the whole kidney is altered in these conditions.

Professor Long said: “We are delighted to receive this award from the Royal Photographic Society. It is the cumulation of many years of interdisciplinary collaborative work between biologists and engineers developing innovative methods to visualise the kidney in greater detail than has been possible before. These imaging techniques have been applied to allow us to understand how the kidney develops in the first place, its structure in health and how it goes wrong in diseases such as cystic kidneys, transplant rejection, diabetes, and kidney cancer”.

Now in their 145th year, the Royal Photographic Society Awards are the world’s longest running and most prestigious photography honours, recognising individuals working across both still and moving image. Rather than rewarding a single image, the awards celebrate the photographers and recipients themselves; highlighting significant achievements, showcasing new and emerging talent and recognising notable contributions from members across a range of categories that cover all genres and applications of photography, including moving image, new media, science and imaging, education, publishing, and curation.

Sir Brian Pomeroy CBE, ARPS, Chair of the RPS Awards Committee, said: “The recipients this year serve as a vivid testament to the profound influence and significance of photography. They demonstrate its capacity to inspire, raise awareness, facilitate change and enhance personal, social and cultural well-being while showing the relevance of the RPS to the international photography community. Our new categories show how the Royal Photographic Society continues to evolve and reflect important global issues and we have been thrilled to see the incredible range of talent in these areas, as well as across the entire photographic world.”

The imaging work from the group has already won several prizes, including the Great Ormond Street Hospital ‘A moment of discovery’ imaging competition and has been highlighted by Nature, the BBC and National Geographic.

The complete list of RPS 2023 awards recipients is available with more information and images for each recipient here https://rps.org/awards



  • A confocal microscopy image of the urinary filtration apparatus of the developing kidney. Credit: David Long, Claire Walsh and Danyal Jafree.

Media contact 

Dr Matt Midgley

E: m.midgley [at] ucl.ac.uk