Nikon announced the winners of the 2012 Small World Photomicrography Competition, with this year’s top honors going to Dr. Jennifer Peters and Dr. Michael Taylor of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Their photomicrograph, “The blood-brain barrier in a live zebrafish embryo” is believed to be the first-ever image showing the formation of the blood-brain barrier in a live animal.

The top five images this year came from a wide variety of artistic visual concepts and scientific disciplines who all share a common goal of outstanding photomicrographs that demonstrate superior technical competency and artistic skill.

Top Five Images:

1. Dr. Jennifer L. Peters and Dr. Michael R. Taylor, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; “The blood-brain barrier in a live zebrafish embryo”
2. Walter Piorkowski, “Live newborn lynx spiderlings”
3. Dr. Dylan Burnette, National Institutes of Health; “Human bone cancer (osteosarcoma) showing actin filaments (purple), mitochondria (yellow), and DNA (blue)”
4. Dr. W. Ryan Williamson, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI); “Drosophila melanogaster visual system halfway through pupal development, showing retina (gold), photoreceptor axons (blue), and brain (green)”
5. Honorio Cócera-La Parra, University of Valencia; “Cacoxenite (mineral) from La Paloma Mine, Spain”

This year’s judges comprised of top science and media industry experts including:

Daniel Evanko, Editor, Nature Methods; Martha Harbison, Senior Editor, Popular Science; Dr. Robert D. Goldman, Stephen Walter Ranson Professor and Chair, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and Liza A. Pon, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology and Director, Confocal and Specialized Microscopy Shared Resource, Columbia University.