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About BioImages

2017 Best of Show

Virus Explorer
© Fabian de Kok-Mercado, MA-CMI, Aileen O’Hearn, Laura Bonetta, Dennis Liu, Neil Steinberg & Ethan Goldstine
HHMI BioInteractive
Ellicott City, MD, United States

See other award and salon winners in the BioImages Gallery.


BioImages is an annual visual media competition that showcases the finest still, graphics and motion media work in the life sciences and medicine.

The competition, sponsored by the BioCommunications Association, is open to institutions, companies and individuals (BioImages judges are not eligible to enter). Association membership is not required.

Best of Show is awarded a $500 U.S. cash prize and a one year free membership to the BCA.

Winners will be announced at the BioImages Awards ceremony, held following the opening reception for BIOCOMM, the annual meeting of the BioCommunications Association. All selected photographs, graphic design work and illustrations will be displayed at the meeting and published on our web site in the BioImages Gallery. Attendance at the annual meeting is not required.

How To Enter

  • All entries must be submitted using the official online BioImages entry form.
  • Online submissions will be accepted between March 1-31 each year.
  • The maximum number of submissions per entrant is six.
  • Entries must meet file type and minimum or maximum size requirements for each division.
  • It is the sole responsibility of the entrant to secure any necessary patient and/or copyright permissions. Only entries submitted in compliance with the stated requirements will be accepted and considered for judging.
  • Payment must be made at the time of submission.

Entry Fees

The entry fees will be listed in March of each year when the submission portal is open. Entry fees are payable by credit card, in U.S. funds, via the BCA Paypal account.

Judging and Awards

All entries will be judged on impact, composition, clarity, content, technique, lighting, image quality, presentation, creativity, originality and effective use of the medium to fulfill its stated purpose.

At the discretion of the judges, the following awards may be issued. A full set of awards may not always be made.

  • Award of Excellence is awarded to entries that achieve the highest standards of professionalism.
  • Citation of Merit is awarded to entries that meet high standards of professionalism.
  • Salon Showing are entries that have been selected to hang in the salon at the Annual Meeting.

Merit Awards

Merit Awards are sponsored categories that reflect the achievement of a high caliber of proficiency in a specific area.

  • BCA Medical Education
    Best medical teaching aid in each division; includes a $50 US award.
  • Charles Foster Memorial Citation
    Best color photo-micrograph entry.
  • C. Graham Eddy Endoscopic
    Demonstrates the most successful use of endoscopic equipment; includes a $50 US award.
  • Canadian Founders Natural Science
    Best entry in the Natural Science category.
  • Warren Sturgis Motion Media Award
    Best entry in Motion Media Division.
  • Best of Show
    The most outstanding entry from the Award of Excellence winners will be awarded Best of Show, which includes a $500 U.S. cash prize and a one year free membership to the BCA

Divisions and Categories

Awards are given in three visual media divisions: Still Media, Graphics Media and Motion Media. At the discretion of the BioImages Chair, an entry may be moved into a more appropriate class or category.

Still Media Division

Submit an RGB or Grayscale JPEG file (maximum quality) with a minimum size of 3,000 pixels for the longest dimension. Entries will be rejected if they don't meet the minimum resolution. If the minimum is not possible it should be noted on the submission form.

Color management profile should be sRGB for proper on-screen viewing in the judging portal. Metadata may be reviewed by the judges.

Specify purpose (e.g., educational, promotional), intended audience, and any other pertinent information in the notes section on the entry form.

  • Clinical
    Living subject in a clinical environment.
  • Specimen
    Non-living biological subject in whole or part.
  • Photomicrograph
    Image taken with a compound light microscope. Magnification, stain and type of microscope must be indicated in entry field.
  • Electron Micrograph
    Image taken with Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) or Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Magnification, specimen prep, and colorizing technique (if any) must be indicated in entry field.
  • Ophthalmic
    Photograph of the eye taken with a fundus or slit lamp camera.
  • Natural Science
    Non-medical biological subject. Include genus and species in entry field.
  • General Illustrative
    Work-related photographic image that does not fall into another category.
  • Series
    A series of images illustrating a biological or medical process occurring over time and/or space. Must submit one composite file of a series of 2 to 12 images.
  • Portraiture
    Work-related formal, informal or environmental portrait.
  • Fine Art
    An image that transcends its designated needs by default or by intent and demonstrates the quality of timelessness.

Graphics Media Division

Submit a PDF file and a complete description of your entry. For example the original size, paper stock, special finish and material, in the notes section of the submission form.

  • Brochure/Flyer
    Pamphlets and circulars used to educate the reader about a place, an event or medical (scientific) procedure or disease.
  • Periodical
    Journals, annual reports, magazines or other print publications related to medicine or science, which you created.
  • Medical Illustration
    Figure(s) created for instructional or editorial use to visually communicate a procedure, concept or condition. May contain more than one panel.
  • Natural Science Illustration
    Figure created for instructional or editorial use to visually illustrate a species or process relating to Natural Science, may or may not include genus and species.
  • Poster
    Medical, scientific, or public relations display used to educate a target audience about an institution, event, procedure or disease. Indicate original size and material on entry label.
  • Speciality
    Calendars, cards, logos or other print media that does not fall into another category.

Motion Media Division

  • Video
    Program produced for use on a computer or the Internet.
    • File type: MP4
    • Minimum resolution: 1280x720
    • Maximum resolution: 1920x1080
    • Maximum data rate: 2500 kbps
    • Maximum file size: 200 MB
    • Maximum length: 5 minutes
  • Interactive
    Programs produced for use on a computer, smart devices or the Internet. (Entries that require proprietary or non-standard hardware will not be accepted.)

Usage Rights

Entrants retain their copyrights for all works, but the BCA reserves the right to future use without prior notice or additional compensation. Entries may be published in the Journal of Biocommunication, BCA News, press releases, or other publications of the Association, on the Internet and at www.bca.org.

For more information, contact the BioImages Chair at BioImages@bca.org.


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