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Art of Science Images from the Art of Science Contest

Other Submissions

"Polymer-encased Ag nanocube light source" by Steven Edward Bopp

Caption: Polymer-encased silver nanocube edge-to-edge light source

Steven Edward Bopp is a graduate student associated with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Zhaowei Liu Research Group.

"High Noon in the Mojave" by Emil Karshalev

Caption: Vulture Perched on a Branch Waiting for its Next Meal

The printing of thin polymer layers with embedded structures can result in functional films but when the there are defects in the printing process one can end up with a classic Wild West aesthetic - the blazing sun, the arid desert, and the vultures circling and salivating around their next meal.

Emil Karshalev is a postdoctoral researcher associated with the Department of NanoEngineering, Jacobs School of Engineering.

"WhiteHorse Storyboard Painting" by Keith Pezzoli

Caption: Clam Diggers Working the Great South Bay, Long Island, NY

The Great South Bay "StoryBoard Painting" is a form of research communication that sets the stable for discussion about the theory and practice of Bioregionalism. I co-owned and operated the White Horse bay boat featured in the painting foreground with a partner of mine for many years as clam diggers on the Great South Bay (Long Island, NY). My experience on the bay as a workspace fired up my lifelong interest in the use and management of common-pool resources. With conservation practices in place for harvesting clams, the bay kept many people (young and older alike) gainfully employed for decades. Sadly, red tide (suffocating algal blooms) and other forms of ecosystem degradation have decimated the Bay’s clamming industry. The loss is not only economic (loss of jobs), it is also a loss of culture and tradition. A diverse group of concerned citizens, clam diggers, local government agencies, business people, conservationists, and others have been working hard on various restoration initiatives, with mixed results. Some very hopeful signs have been dashed by ongoing red tide events, and the difficulties diverse groups face when trying to collectively establish viable common pool resource management/governance practices). The painting is a storyboard in so far as it provides a visual for celebrating the benefits historically provided by the Bay (clams, healthy livelihood). And it prompts discussion of what it can be in the future if reclaimed --coupling human and natural systems in resource-conserving ways. Note we dug the clams with tongs by hand without large mechanical fossil fuel-driven dredges. This was by design. Digging using human labor power alone is a resource-conserving, regenerative ecosystem approach to harvesting clams. Fossil fuel-powered dredging floods the market with clams, causes prices to drop while damaging the bay bottom and the sustainability of clamming as an industry. The White Horse is long gone now, its old wooden planks part of the earth again –it was built in 1922. In this storyboard painting, the White Horse in the sky symbolizes robust living biopower (horsepower). Humanpower is what clam diggers used to harvest the clams in this period (1970s). Common pool resource conservation by an intentional restriction on the type of power and technology used in harvesting resources is an artform in regulatory innovation. This image celebrates the value of human power as an element in a sustainable and regenerative approach to common-pool resource management.

Keith Pezzoli is a faculty member associated with the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Bioregional Center for Sustainability Science, Planning and Design.

"Diagonal Samples" by Eleanor Quirk

Caption: When biomolecules come into contact with a nanoparticle, they surround the particle, which impacts the movement of the nanoparticle as well as the structure of the biomolecule, sometimes permanently.

Three 1.5mL centrifuge tubes rest inside a bright green plastic sample rack, taking up three of the closest slots to the camera that are available. The tubes are in focus, and each contain approximately 1mL of liquid. Indistinct writing in thin permanent marker is present on the sides and caps of all three tubes. The rest of the rack is empty; rows of empty slots extend backwards into the image, becoming blurred the further back they reach. The sample rack rests on top of a white machine: an Ultraviolet-Visible (UV-Vis) spectrometer. These samples are to be analyzed using the UV-Vis in the near future. A crumpled, brown paper towel falls off the left side of the image; it was used to help dry the cuvettes used in the UV-Vis. A laminated paper with black text printed on it is visible on top of the UV-Vis. The background is blurred, but shows a lab bench covered in various devices, tubes, boxes, and experiments in progress. Also in the background are a line of white cabinets with vertical windows that reflect the white lab lighting and hint at the many supplies stored in this room. The entire picture appears to be tilted approximately 15 degrees clockwise from horizontal, which puts everything at a slant and creates very energetic diagonal movement throughout the image.

Science behind image description: Relationships are complex. Studying them can be remarkably complex as well, especially when the relationships are essentially invisible! Hence, studying the nano-scale relationships between metal oxides and biomolecules is no easy feat. In this picture, an Ultraviolet-Visible spectrometer is being used to analyze three samples of nucleotides that have been exposed to titanium dioxide nanoparticles. Other methods are used in conjunction with the UV-Vis, including Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD). All these techniques combined give us an idea of what happens when a biomolecule (such as a nucleotide, protein, or amino acid) comes into contact with a nanoparticle (such as titanium dioxide or hematite). Why are we using all these techniques and putting in so much effort to characterize these nano-scale relationships? Why are they important? It turns out that nanoparticles and biomolecules interact very frequently with each other, and those interactions can have an important effect on pollution movement, ecosystem health, and human wellbeing. When biomolecules come into contact with a nanoparticle, they form a corona around the particle, encompassing it. This impacts the way the nanoparticle moves through a system, which means it can end up in places that it perhaps shouldn’t be. For example, nanoparticles in a human bloodstream can be transported to the heart, where they accumulate and can cause a variety of health issues. The corona also impacts the biomolecules: upon interacting with nanoparticles, the structure of the biomolecules can be altered. Sometimes that alteration is permanent, even after the biomolecule is no longer interacting with the nanoparticle. This has implications for the functionality of biomolecules in the presence of nanoparticles, which is concerning if the change in functionality is detrimental to the health of the system. We study these relationships so that we can determine what issues may arise from nanoparticle-biomolecule interactions, and how we can avoid them. We also study them so that we can expand our understanding of the world we inhabit. What we learn from our research will inform us how to better interact with our environments, and will ultimately make us better citizens of planet Earth.

Eleanor Quirk is an undergraduate student associated with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Department of Chemical Engineering, and the Grassian Group.

"Early riser or night owl? A flip of a loop can make the difference!" by Clarisse G. Ricci

Caption: A conformational switch of the activation loop in Casein Kinase I controls the circadian clock and the duration of the biological day.

Casein Kinase I phosphorylates key regions of a protein called PERIOD, which forms the core of the biological clock in mammals. The figure superimposes two alternative conformations of Casein Kinase I (cyan and magenta). The clock in the figure highlights the region of the kinase whose conformation controls the duration of the biological day. Mutations that favor the "loop up" conformation (in cyan) lead to shortening of the circadian rhythm and emergence of 'early riser' behavior.

Clarisse G. Ricci is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Pharmacology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and the McCammon Group.