Nikon Announces Judging Panel for the 49th Annual Small World Competition

May 30, 2023

Five expert judges will evaluate entries from across the globe to select this year’s winning microscopy images and videos.

Nikon Instruments Inc. today announced the judging panel for the 2023 Nikon Small World photomicrography and Small World in Motion video competitions, to be held June 6–8 at the Marine Biological Lab (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Ed Cara, Science and Health Reporter at Gizmodo; James Cutmore​, Picture Editor at BBC Science Focus Magazine; Gary Laevsky, Ph.D., Director of the Confocal Imaging Facility at Princeton University; Igor Siwanowicz, Ph.D., Research Scientist at Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Clare Waterman, Ph.D., Cell Biologist and Member of the National Academy of Sciences, will make up the 2023 judging panel and choose this year's winning imagery and videos.

“For nearly five decades, the Nikon Small World competition has been a showcase for the finest in scientific imaging and microscopy,” said Eric Flem, Senior Manager of Communications and CRM at Nikon Instruments. “Our expert judging panel plays an integral role in identifying those images and videos that will speak to the curious and creative minds of the world.”

Now in its 49th year, the Nikon Small World competition is widely regarded as the leading forum to honor visual excellence in photomicrography and video taken through the microscope. The competition will honor the top 20 photography and top 5 video winners, in addition to awarding Honorable Mentions and Images of Distinction. Winning submissions will be recognized for their ability to capture visually stunning and scientifically significant moments that can only be seen through the microscope.

The competition has featured some of the most esteemed names in science and media on its judging panel, and this year is no exception. This year’s panel features:

  • Ed Cara, Science and Health Reporter at Gizmodo: Born and raised in New York City, Cara currently covers the public health and science beat at Gizmodo. His past feature and investigative reporting can be seen in The Atlantic, Pacific Standard and Undark Magazine.
  • James Cutmore​, Picture Editor at BBC Science Focus Magazine: Cutmore has worked for BBC’s science and technology publication BBC Science Focus since 2004, telling compelling science stories through stunning science imagery. He holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of West England and was highly commended in 2020, having been nominated for the British Society of Magazine Editors Talent Awards. He is passionate about sourcing images that not only illustrate a range of difficult and complex concepts but highlight positive technology and the natural world. For many years he was a judge for the Wellcome Trust's image competition, as well as the Royal Photographic Society.
  • Dr. Gary Laevsky, Director of the Confocal Imaging Facility at Princeton University: Dr. Laevsky received his Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut in 2003 and completed his post-doctoral research at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Prior to joining the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, he was the Product Manager for Olympus, a Senior Biosystems Applications Manager for Nikon, and an Imaging Applications Specialist for Andor Technology. Since joining Princeton University in 2013 as Director of the Confocal Imaging Facility, he has achieved the title of Senior Professional Specialist, the highest non-faculty level position that can be achieved. He has also been selected to sit on the Committee on Appointments and Advancement for Professional Researchers and Professional Specialists. Dr. Laevsky is a co-founder of the North Atlantic Microscopy Society (NAMS), Course Laboratory Director for the Analytical and Quantitative Light Microscopy (AQLM) course at the MBL, and co-founder of the Light-Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy (LSFM) Conference and Workshop, also at MBL.
  • Dr. Igor Siwanowicz, Research Scientist at Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Dr. Siwanowicz began his career in biochemistry, but his love for animals and nature, and a desire to see the bigger picture, drove him to refocus his scientific discipline on neurobiology. This transition was facilitated by his expertise in invertebrate morphology, which he developed through macro photography. A confocal microscope became his key tool of trade, allowing for even more intimate insight into natural forms than a macro lens. Dr. Siwanowicz’s images have placed a total of 25 times in the Nikon Small World and Olympus BioScapes competitions. In 2020, he received an award from the Royal Photographic Society for scientific imaging. For the past 10 years, Dr. Siwanowicz has been studying the anatomy and biomechanics of movement in invertebrates at the Janelia Research Campus of Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Virginia.
  • Dr. Clare Waterman, Cell Biologist and Member of the National Academy of Sciences: Dr. Waterman graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in biochemistry in 1989. From there, she received an M.S. in exercise science in 1991 from the University of Massachusetts, and her Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. She then spent nine years as a professor in the Department of Cell Biology at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Dr. Waterman has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including election to the National Academy of Sciences and the Arthur S. Flemming Award for Public Service in Basic Science. Dr. Waterman has made fundamental advances in the understanding of cell migration and has authored or co-authored more than 150 papers. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Current Biology and Journal of Microscopy. Dr. Waterman is a member of the American Society for Cell Biology, Royal Microscopical Society, Biophysical Society, and is a Council Member of Gordon Research Conferences Organization.

The Nikon Small World in Motion video winners will be announced in September, and winners of the Small World photomicrography competition will be released in October.

For additional information, please visit, and follow the competition on Facebook, Twitter (@NikonSmallWorld) and Instagram (@nikoninstruments).

About Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

The Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography or video through the microscope. Participants may view details and upload digital images and videos directly at For additional information, contact Nikon Small World, Nikon Instruments Inc., 1300 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, NY 11747, USA, or email us at