Researchers collaborate with students in protein art project
- Credit: Protein Data Bank in Europe
"Proteins are the building blocks of life and art is all about experiencing it - the two go hand in hand," says Deepti Gupta.
Deepti, an archivist and scientist, is part of a team trying get art students to be inspired by biology.
To do this, she has helped set up a digital exhibition at the Protein Data Bank in Europe - which is based at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton - to showcase artwork by pupils in East Anglia.
Deepti said: "By looking into proteins, art students get closer to science in a whole new way.
"And we as scientists can look at proteins in a whole new way when we look at art produced by young people."
Young artists from Saffron Walden, Cambridge, Sawbridgeworth and Sudbury, and a college in Australia, contributed to the exhibition.
Joshua Wenley from Saffron Walden County High School created artwork based on a protein called HER2, which stimulates cell growth and is associated with cancer.
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Joshua's caption reads: "I chose this protein as cancer is an illness that devastated our family after my father passed away in 2019.
"The idea was to find beauty in something so frightening.
"I have learnt a lot about HER2 and cancer, particularly the way it destroys human cells. "
Merryn Rush, also from SWCHS, created artwork based on TMC1, associated with hearing loss.
She said: "I have a hearing loss and wanted to explore this further.
"I learnt that there is a protein that is linked to hearing and sound waves.
"I used photoshop, sewing and I used a torch to create the sound waves images and used a digital camera to take a picture of them."
The exhibition has taken place each year since 2017 and has grown in size since its inception.
Deepti said: "The students from the County High's Year 12 should be really proud."
She added: "Researching proteins is important because we can ultimately cure diseases."
The Protein Data Bank in Europe models and catalogues different biological structures and makes the information available for scientists worldwide.
The exhibition is online: https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/pdb-art