22/06/2012 07:48 BST | Updated 22/06/2012 11:42 BST

Under The Skin: Award-Winning Photos Show Brain, Cells And Other Goo

Ever wondered what your brain looks like? Or cancer cells? Or even what makes your coffee give you that caffeine hit?

Well now the winners of the 2012 Wellcome Image Awards, announced this week, can show you.

The winning shot was that of a living human brain, taken by Robert Ludlow during surgery. The brain belongs to a patient with epilepsy, and the judges commended the fact that the photograph offered a rare glimpse inside the human skull.

Caffeine crystals captured by Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy

Challenged to take pictures that let viewers 'get closer to science', the nominated photographers open up the microscopic worlds of plant, animal and mineral beyond recognition.

The award shows how beautifully art, science and medicine can collide as the academic subject matter of the photographs is as important as how it looks.

As Catherine Draycott, Head of Wellcome Images said, "the winners are chosen for their scientific and technical merit as much as for their aesthetic appeal. They offer people a chance to [see science and research] as a source of beauty as well as providing important information about the world around us."

If the images look like they're from another planet, it might be because of the incredible technical skill involved in taking them.

Medical photography is notoriously difficult process, as photographers have to work in conditions where doctors are working and under difficult lighting situations.

We can't decide where some of these images lie on the line between fascinating and stomach-churning - what do you think?