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A Picture of Health – Evolving Visions of Health Diving for Pills

A potential source of novel antimicrobial agents in our world of increasing antibiotic resistance

08 March 2023

Diving for Pills

Celebrated by a recent exhibition at its new building in White City, London, the MRC LMS has launched a book and website with over 100 interpretations of the phrase ‘A Picture of Health’ gathered from a broad cross-section of society.

As his Picture of Health, Dr Tobias Warnecke, head of the MRC LMS Molecular Systems group, chose this image of bacteria-like organisms called archaea growing in a Petri dish. Read why:

"We work on archaea – tiny single-celled organisms not unlike bacteria but with a molecular toolkit that, in many respects, is more similar to that of humans. Some of these archaea flourish in odd places. The bright pink Haloferax volcanii colonies in this picture, for example, were originally isolated from the Dead Sea. They love extremely salty environments where few other organisms survive. Other archaea thrive closer to home: in the human gut. Here, they have carved out a living for themselves amongst legions of bacteria. We study how these archaea defend themselves against bacterial competitors, looking for new types of antibacterial molecules that can be used to combat antimicrobial resistance. This is my picture of health as it reminds me that solutions to health challenges, now and in the future, can come from the strangest of places."

Read more about Evolving Visions of Health - a special collection from A Picture of Health here

Written by Lindsey Goff

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What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.