Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

What is BPoD?

Many of us today would not be here without medical intervention. Our life expectancy and standard of living is a dramatic improvement on that of our recent ancestors. In the past century alone medicine has seen cures for infectious disease and vitamin deficiencies. Science has uncovered the blueprint of life, and devised imaging technologies that allow us to see deep within our tissues and organs.

So-called basic research supports the great edifice that is modern medicine. Bench science uncovers the characteristic mechanisms and components of health and disease. Model systems from flies to fungi allow researchers to address questions pertinent to human disease. And new technologies allow us to develop more powerful tools to tackle the great challenges that remain.

This not-for-profit educational resource showcases contemporary biomedical research with an image a day. The stories – drafted by our team of professional science writers – connect the public with the science behind medical practice.

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.


For Visitors

  • I’d like to use an image for some work I’m doing. Can BPoD or the MRC let me use it?

    Neither BPoD nor the MRC have the power to say yes or no. That lies with the copyright holder, and different rules apply for each image. The names of the scientists who captured each image and any publishers are provided in the image credit.

  • Who do I need to contact then?

    For scientific journal articles, sometimes the author retains copyright and sometimes the publisher does. You need to contact the copyright holder to request permission to use the image in question.

  • What about Creative Commons?

    Creative Commons makes it easy to know where you stand with regard to how you can use an image, even without contacting the scientist or publisher. Even so, we think it’s always polite to contact the scientist unless it’s for personal use. You can read about the different licence types at Here’s a summary:

    • CC-BY (publishers like BMC and PLoS) – you can use the image pretty much as you like, but you should attribute it to the originator (just say who it’s BY somewhere on your work).

    • CC-BY-NC means you should say who the image is BY, but you can’t make money from it (NonCommercial). Note this doesn’t equate directly to educational use, because some education, like professional training, can be commercial. Creative Commons doesn’t have a licence for education only in fact.

    • CC-BY-NC-ND (people like the Wellcome Trust) – You have to attribute it when you use it (say who it’s BY), you can’t alter the image in any way (NonDerivative), and you can’t make money from your use of it (NonCommercial).

  • What about the descriptions of the images?

    BPoD descriptions are owned by the MRC, although we will consider proposals for the educational use of copy elsewhere.

For Contributors

  • I think I may have already signed over the copyright for this image to a publisher. Can it still be used?

    We will contact the publisher in the first instance. Please let us know which journal the image is (being) published in and we’ll take it from there.

  • Why can’t I retract permissions once granted?

    BPoD will only use your image in a way that is fair and reasonable, and we also allow you to retain image copyright and exercise that right as you choose. However, we want BPoD to exist as an educational resource that continues for decades or longer. BPoD is educational, non-commercial and guaranteed to continue as a free resource, but we need to be sure we can use your image.

  • The licence sounds similar to Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC). I’d be fine with that. Why don’t you just impose that licence?

    Creative Commons is great. If you want to release your image under that licence, or any other licence you choose, you are free to do so ( However, we think that that should be your decision and recommend that you read their terms.

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