Del Mar resident wins prestigious 2018 Lennart Nilsson Award

Thomas Deerinck
Thomas Deerinck Courtesy

Longtime Del Mar resident and UC San Diego researcher Thomas Deerinck has been awarded the 2018 Lennart Nilsson Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of microscopy in biomedical research.

From the Lennart Nilsson Award Foundation website: “The Lennart Nilsson Award Foundation was established in 1998 in recognition of the world-renowned Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson and his extraordinary body of work. Its main aim is to promote education, training and research within the medical, biological and engineering sciences through the use of images. This is achieved through the Lennart Nilsson Award, an international award bestowed annually upon an individual in recognition of outstanding contributions within the realm of scientific photography. Award recipients are people who work in the spirit of Lennart Nilsson, revealing science to the world in beautiful, unique and powerful ways.”

Stem cell
Human stem cell derived neuron. Courtesy

Deerinck has been a researcher in the Department of Neurosciences and the Center for Research in Biological Systems at UCSD since 1978, and specializes in creating new approaches to study biological phenomenon using state-of-the-art light and electron microscopes. He is also a bio-artist, with many of his images featured in numerous periodicals and public exhibitions.

In 2015 he was invited to give a public lecture on his work for the Del Mar Foundation titled “Beauty and the Brain: Blending Art and Science” that can be viewed online at

“Thomas Deerinck is a microscopist from San Diego who works tirelessly in Lennart Nilsson's spirit with development of techniques and methods that make the invisible visible. He has given a long series of important contributions to the development of new methods in both light and electron microscopy. His images have often been decisive steps in pioneering research projects, and at the same time he has captured the beauty of the scientific content and turned it into works of art,” the Lennart Nilsson Award Foundation website stated.

He was nominated for the award by distinguished professors Mark Ellisman of UCSD and Martin Hetzer of the Salk Institute. The award will be presented along with a prize of $100,000 SEK (Swedish Krona) during the annual Installation of Professors ceremony at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden in October.

More information at:

--News release

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