The re­ally BIG pic­ture on cell re­pair

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

For those cu­ri­ous to see how a healthy cell re­pairs DNA, you don’t need to dust off your old mi­cro­scope. Look in­stead to the ceil­ing of the Basser Re­search Cen­ter for BRCA at the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, where they have turned the process into a more than 900-pound il­lu­mi­nated hang­ing sculp­ture named “Ho­mol­o­gous Hope.”

You might say they lit­er­ally shed light on three stages of the cell-re­pair process, us­ing more than 600 pro­gram­mable pur­ple and green LED lights to show how BRCA2—a hu­man gene that pro­duces the tu­mor-sup­press­ing pro­teins that help re­pair dam­aged DNA—works.

The sculp­ture uses a rib­bon-di­a­gram for­ma­tion to il­lus­trate how a healthy cell re­pairs the DNA that causes breast, ovar­ian and pan­cre­atic can­cers. “It looks like a soft cloud at sun­rise,” said the artist, Mara Hasel­tine, de­scrib­ing the piece. UPenn sci­en­tists worked to­gether with Hasel­tine to cre­ate a sign of hope us­ing sci­ence as a base. The sculp­ture was un­veiled last week.

The ti­tle, “Ho­mol­o­gous Hope,” is based on the con­cept of ho­mol­o­gous re­com­bi­na­tion, which es­sen­tially de­scribes the ex­change of nu­cleo­tide se­quences be­tween two sis­ter chro­matids. “The hope part of the ti­tle is be­cause, with enough re­search, we may be able to erad­i­cate this prob­lem in the fu­ture and bring hope to fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als world­wide,” said Hasel­tine, a Brook­lyn-based artist known for her sculp­tural ren­di­tions of mi­cro­scopic life forms.

Be pre­pared to pack your travel bag to see other ex­am­ples of sci­ence turned into art by Hasel­tine.

In Long Is­land, you can check out “Waltz of the Polypep­tides” at the Cold Spring Har­bor Lab­o­ra­tory, a bi­ol­ogy and ge­net­ics re­search in­sti­tu­tion. That sculp­ture de­picts the process by which in­fec­tion-fight­ing an­ti­bod­ies are stim­u­lated in the body.

In Sin­ga­pore, you might also check out “SARS In­hib­ited,” which por­trays the ac­tive part of the virus, and is cur­rently on dis­play at Biopo­lis, a bio­med­i­cal sci­ences re­search and de­vel­op­ment cen­ter.

The sculp­ture is sus­pended from a 400-pound stain­less steel ring and in­cludes more than 560 pounds of car­bon fiber.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.