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Centre for Personalised Medicine Art Competition 2023-24

In the second year of the competition, we looked at screening newborn babies for disease. All babies born in the UK are offered tests shortly after birth to check for health issues:

Currently, the Newborn Genomes Programme is exploring how looking at a baby’s genetic code might help with checking them for diseases. This sort of testing can look for a lot of diseases at once, but the results might be less clear as we are still learning how a person’s genetic code links to the illnesses they develop.

The video introducing the competition can be found here.

The artworks were judged on:

A huge thank you to the judges; Dr Rachel Horton (CPM Junior Research Fellow), Dr Ali Kay (CPM Junior Research Fellow), Dr Kate Keohane (St Anne’s College/Ruskin School of Art), Brian Mackenwells (Centre for Human Genetics), Melville Nyatondo (Oxford Personalised Medicine Society) and Taisiia Sazonova (Oxford Personalised Medicine Society).

We were so impressed with the quality of the entries we received. This blog post talks through the winners and finalists – we hope you enjoy these thought-provoking entries as much as we did.

Winner

Our winning entry is this fantastic piece by Laranya, aged 13 from Worksop College, Nottinghamshire. Laranya produced this artwork using the letters ATGC – the types of bases found in a DNA molecule. Laranya wrote, ‘When viewing the picture up close you only see the letters, but when you look from a distance you can see the face of the baby. This shows that when examining our DNA, you must look with a microscope, and these tiny proteins make up a whole person.’

The judges were captivated by this impressive piece of art, and thought it was great how it showed the challenge of detecting health relevant genetic variation.

Runner-up

Our runner-up is this thought-provoking entry from Scarlett, aged 12 from Worksop College, Nottinghamshire. Scarlett wrote. ‘I created a painting that explores the connection between a baby’s future and their genetic makeup. In the centre of the artwork, I depicted a cute baby positioned behind a prominent DNA double helix. The double helix appears like a protective cell, symbolizing the delicate nature of a newborn’s life. Surrounding the baby and the DNA structure are intricate double helix patterns, illustrating the complexity of genetic testing. The intertwining patterns convey the idea that our genes hold a blueprint for our future.’

The judges really liked this artwork, and how it covered the complexities of newborn screening in a captivating and evocative way.

Highly Commended

We were really lucky to receive so many great entries from incredibly talented students – all the following artworks were highly commended by the judges.

Parampreet, aged 11 from Higham Lane School, Warwickshire. The judges thought this was a very vibrant and eye-catching piece covering different elements of health monitoring for newborns.

Rayan, aged 13 from Oaklands Secondary School, London. The judges really liked how colourful and informative this entry was.

Alexa, aged 14 from Worksop College, Nottinghamshire. The judges were really impressed by this illustration, and how the use of colour conveys the heavy emotions that come with newborn screening.