Teaching my Research through Tactile Activity (Art and Science!)

I had the opportunity to present my research in a colloquium using a craft activity to supplement my presentation.  I decided to teach the audience to make modular spheres (like the ikea lamps) to demonstrate the idea of molecular self-assembly.  Everyone seemed to have fun, and I think it complimented the concept well.  It would probably be more appropriate for middle school students, but the grad students were obliging guinea pigs for my first attempt at Teaching Research Through Tactile Activity!

Peptide Architect

Peptide Architect


I wrote a review article about gene therapy delivery vehicles that are functionalized with peptides that specifically bind to certain tissues for more localized disease treatments.  Most images that accompany scientific papers are pretty literal, so I wanted to create something a little more artistic.  The image depicts a scientist ‘designing’ a peptide that will bind well to a cell receptor.

Targeted Drug Delivery

Targeted Gene Delivery


This image was created to visualize the goals of my research project, which uses spherical vehicles composed of lipids (the yellow sphere) to carry DNA (the green compact helices) as gene therapy through the extracellular matrix (the white strands and purple molecules) directly to cancer cells (the blue membrane in the front), because the peptides attached to the liposome (the multicolored molecules) bind specifically to the integrins (red and yellow molecules on the cancer cell membrane) that are expressed in higher levels on cancer cells than normal tissue.

I hope you learned something 🙂