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Over 82,000 of you have taken part in the world’s largest imaging project

UK Biobank’s imaging project is the largest whole body scanning study globally. We have undertaken detailed scans of the brain, heart, body and bones of over 82,000 of you.

In four UK Biobank centres across the UK, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners are capturing de-identified images many hundreds of times a day. These images illustrate the structure and function of your vital organs to enable scientists to understand how our most common diseases of mid-to-later life develop.

To find out if you are eligible to take part in the imaging study, please email

Learn more about UK Biobank's imaging project

A participant being scanned by imaging staff at our Stockport Imaging Centre

UK Biobank's repeat imaging project

Not once but twice...

In 2023, UK Biobank’s imaging project entered an exciting new phase…up to 60,000 of you are being invited back for repeat scans between 2-7 years after your first visit. BBC’s Medical Editor Fergus Walsh was the first participant to have his repeat imaging scan in Newcastle upon Tyne last year. The repeat imaging project is funded by the Medical Research Council, the biotechnology company Calico Life Sciences and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organisation.

By comparing two sets of highly detailed imaging data obtained several years apart, remarkable opportunities arise for scientists to observe subtle changes in major organs which could suggest disease development over time.

Your time and effort in attending your whole-body scans is shaping UK Biobank into, as Fergus Walsh described it, a ‘treasure trove’ of human health.

Thank you.

Our imaging study is 100x larger than any other

BBC’s Fergus Walsh and UK Biobank’s Chief Scientist Naomi Allen on the BBC Breakfast sofa

How you're boosting cardiovascular disease research

Eye-opening research on retinal diseases

Researchers have used UK Biobank eye imaging and genetic data to investigate rare eye diseases. Findings have identified new genes associated with structural changes of the retina. Such insights will help to improve future diagnoses and therapies.

Read more

Stopping the clock for organ ageing

In a world first, UK Biobank imaging data has revealed that a specific organ’s ‘biological age’ can influence the ageing of other organ groups. This research might help to identify individuals at risk of age-related disease earlier than has previously been possible.

Read more

12,000 images

...collected per participant scanned!

Views from our research community

"In over 15 years of research, I think we’d scanned probably about 3,000 people. UK Biobank eclipsed that number within the first year of its imaging project. Its scale and depth were revolutionary and allowed us to look for much smaller details in very large populations. Giving up the time to volunteer for research is what makes research possible.

You, the participants, are changing science as we know it. You should be very proud of your contribution and realise how very grateful scientists are for what you’ve done."

Professor Louise Thomas, University of Westminster.

Research focus: Abdominal imaging scans.

"The variety and quality of the data in UK Biobank allows us to address a very diverse range of important research questions. Without the altruism of its participants in giving their own time and effort, this depth of data would not exist."

Dr Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, Queen Mary University of London.

Research focus: Heart imaging scans.

9,000 images of the brain are taken per participant in our imaging study

The imaging story of you

I live in Cardiff and have been a chiropractor for nearly 40 years. I love to paint and draw - particularly landscapes of where I have lived around the world, portraits, and cartoons! I had my imaging scan at the Bristol Imaging Centre. I found the experience very interesting, the staff professional, welcoming and helpful and the set-up comfortable.

Bjorn, UK Biobank participant, Cardiff

"I am a keen historian and archaeologist, a proud grandfather of two and I enjoy keeping busy volunteering and singing in my choir.

Whilst I knew that the personal benefit of joining UK Biobank was small, I felt that I would be making a vital contribution towards the development of knowledge to help other people in the future.

I have had two sets of imaging scans at the Newcastle imaging centre and understand that attending both scans enables scientists to gather data from the same people at different points in life, to monitor the ageing process.

In the future, I will contribute as much as I can to this pretty amazing piece of research."

~ Simon, UK Biobank participant, Newcastle

Giving you a say

Our participants are at the heart of everything we do, which is why we give you a say in how we do things. We often ask for your views, for example through feedback surveys and focus groups.

Over the coming year, we will be developing a new strategy for involving and engaging participants in our work. To help us, we have formed a Participant Advisory Group which comprises participants with a range of experiences and backgrounds. We will also be talking to some of our participants’ families, friends and carers about the role they might play in the future.

To find out more and get involved, please contact us at or call 0800 0 276 276.

We would be grateful if you would complete this 5-minute survey to help us improve how we communicate with you. Thank you!

Complete our communications survey

We want to learn even more about your health and wellbeing

There are many things you can do to help us learn about your health and wellbeing from the comfort of your own home. We regularly contact participants for whom we have email addresses to invite them to complete online health questionnaires.

These questionnaires allow us to collect information on health outcomes that might not be available through health records, such as chronic pain. We are incredibly grateful that around 1 in 2 participants invited have completed our questionnaires. The information collected is linked to the existing data we hold for participants and quickly made available in de-identified form to approved researchers.

Due to the cost and environmental impact, we cannot send you questionnaires through the post. However, they are available for you to complete online by logging into the participant website at

You can currently take part in questionnaires on visual memory, social interaction, sleep patterns, mental wellbeing, health and wellbeing, and healthy minds.

Thank you for supporting this important aspect of UK Biobank’s work.

Participants at a focus group

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