The Jo Underhill Art Award

'Molecular Regeneration' by Jo Underhill
'Molecular Regeneration' by Jo Underhill

This annual Award celebrates the intersection of art and science at IMB, encouraging our researchers to creatively share the stories of their research to inspire our colleagues, partners and supporters who make our work possible.

'Ribbon of Life' by Dr Geng Wang

Vote in the People's Choice Award 2024

In November of each year, we invite our IMB staff to submit their works of art - creative interpretations of IMB's research. Judging takes place in December with one coveted category - the People's Choice Award - open to voting from the public.

Voting is currently closed but please check back later in the year for an update. In the meantime, subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay in the know and follow us on social media.

Jo Underhill (1978 - 2014)

In memory of Jo Underhill

Jo Underhill was an Artist-In-Residence at IMB. With an honors Degree in Fine Art from The Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Jo combined her artistic experience and playful approach to life through her art. 

In October 2006, Jo was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma cancer. During her battle, she teamed up with researchers here at IMB to understand the molecular changes in her body that occurred during the disease.

"I'm a very visual person, so when I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was trying to imagine what my cells would look like as they changed in response to the disease," - Jo Underhill.

Over several months, Jo studied, sketched and brought her inspirations to life creating more than twenty original artworks. Jo battled with the disease for 8 years, until sadly in 2014 Jo’s cancer took her life.

Past competition winners

Winner - Judges' Prize
'Microbial Harmony' by Charu Deepika
Representing Earth within a petri plate, prominently featuring cyanobacteria— a group of microscopic organisms that absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
Runner up - Judges' Prize
'Egg of Water Bear' by Rob Parton
By studying how tardigrades (water bears) cope with harsh conditions, scientists can learn about cellular mechanisms and harness them to increase cell survival.
People's Prize
'Discard to Delight' by Marut Jain
Using electronic waste-derived carbon for water purification.
Judith McLean Prize - Best in Traditional Media
'Tangled Diversity' by Peta Harvey
This artwork pays homage to the myriad of small circular defence molecules (cyclotides) produced by the butterfly pea.
Winner - Judges' Prize
"Microbial Marvel" by Jeffrey Mak

Inspired by van Gogh's 'Sunflowers', the colours are intended to evoke optimism and hopefulness, as reflecting the potential of 5-OP-RU (a compound shown to promote antibacterial protection, tissue repair and protect mice from cancer) as the basis of future medicines.
Runner up - Judges' Prize
"Treasure in Venom" by Ken Lai

IMB researchers use molecules found in venom from deadly spiders to create treatments for heart attacks and strokes.
People's Prize
"Erupting Macrophage" by Hongyu Shen

This is an immunofluorescence image of a macrophage by live cell imaging. The cell is expressing Tetraspanin GFP and we are investigating the role of these tetraspanins in the immune response in the hope of reducing inflammation.
Winner - Judges' Prize
‘Let me in’ by Aline Dantas

One of the challenges of our research is to find ways to assist the entry of small helical peptides into cells.
It is a daunting environment, with membranes that do not let them pass, and proteases that, if they do, chop them up in pieces.
Runner up - Judges' Prize
‘Significant Things’ by Peta Harvey

This still life is a celebration of the simple objects and basic chemistry that underpin all that comes from the laboratory.
The simple flask, bottle, and precarious round bottom vessel are magnificence hidden in the every-day of the lab bench.
People's Prize
‘Fluorescent Antennas’ by Charu Deepika

Phycobiliproteins (PBPs) are unique pigments found in cyanobacteria that play an eminent role in photosynthesis serving as a light-harvesting antenna.
They are gaining immense attention as a potential drug for multiple cancer treatments.

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