We report on the latest developments in biological research all the time here at Gizmag, but it's easy to forget just how beautiful biology can appear when observed at the cellular level. On this note, GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences Cell Imaging Competition has announced its winners for 2012, giving us the opportunity to appreciate the images which will soon light up New York’s Times Square.

Now in its sixth year, GE Healthcare’s annual competition sees art, science, and discovery converge, with incredibly detailed abstract images the result. The competition is divided into two categories: high-content analysis, and microscopy. It received over 100 entries from researchers based around the world who are investigating conditions including cancer, HIV, and neurodegenerative disease.

Anushree Balachandran of Genea, Sydney, won the high-content analysis category with this image of a Huntington's disease stem cell

While the subject matter of the images can make for sobering viewing, it’s fascinating to see how aesthetically beautiful and complex a cancer cell can appear, for example, and each image is a poignant reminder of the importance of such research.

Markus Posch of the University of Dundee's microscopy image of Prometaphase human cervical carcinoma won the regional award

The images were first selected by a panel of five judges, who shortlisted the finalists for each category before putting the selection to a public vote. Each winner will receive a trip to New York to see their entry displayed on NBC Universal’s HD screen in Times Square from April 19 - 21.

View our pick of the best images in the image gallery.

View gallery - 13 images