Research as Art
Exhibit: January 2018
Art Gallery, Main Level, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library
Curated by Jody Rosenblatt, Vaiva Kulbokaite and Anne Martin
EHSL Display designed by Gage Baron, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library
“Everyone has access to the beauties of the natural world that we see, however, scientists can sometimes have access to the underlying beauty we cannot see. Here, scientists from different disciplines throughout our campus have the opportunity to expose that world.”
This exhibit is based on the Research as Art competition held in 2016 at the University of Utah. The curators started this competition borrowing from the Research Images as Art competition offered through the Slade School of Art within University College London, which covered all disciplines. At the University of Utah, they decided to focus on science to provide a venue in which to tell several short stories about the breadth and depth of science research occurring at the U.
Jody Rosenblatt, B.A., Ph.D., is Professor of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah, Investigator at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar and an H. A. and Edna Benning Presidential Endowed Chair. Her lab studies how epithelia—the tissue that coat and protect our body and all our organs—maintain constant cell numbers through cell death and cell division. They have found that mechanical forces control each process; when cells become too crowded, they extrude some cells that later die and when cells are too sparse stretch activates cells to rapidly divide. Extrusion is critical for regulating epithelial cell numbers, as aggressive metastatic cancers and asthma may result from defects in extrusion signaling. When she was a postdoctoral fellow at University College London, she was introduced to a Research Images as Art competition that the Slade Art school put on. The images on display are a similar attempt: the idea is to share the depth and breadth of research occurring at the University of Utah through its intrinsic beauty. Even diseased tissue has its own beauty and we would like to share the secrets that often only the researchers get to see.
Anne Martin, B.F.A. (Graphic Design), is a current Biosciences graduate student in the Neurobiology and Anatomy department here at the University of Utah. She obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from the University of Georgia in 2005 and went on to work as a professional graphic designer for many years before entering graduate school in 2013 to study cell adhesion molecules and their role in synapse formation. Her passion is working to combine her two loves of science and design to improve visual communication in science. To that end, she currently teaches science design to graduate students through workshops and her blog at vizsi.com. She also enjoys communicating science through her neuroscience-based fine artwork which will be on display at Eccles Health Sciences Library in October 2018.
Vaiva Kulbokaite, M.Sc. (Biophysics), is a science outreach and popularization professional. Vaiva initiated and directed a pioneering science popularization non-profit in her home country Lithuania. Two of her projects were awarded the best science popularization audiovisuals prize. A striking 1.5% of Lithuania is following her organization in social media. In 2015 Vaiva moved to Salt Lake City and established a local online network Science & Art Utah, and joined Dr. Jody Rosenblatt in organizing the Research as Art Contest. Vaiva developed several science outreach programs for The Leonardo museum including hosting panel discussions and open lectures. At the moment she is transitioning to digital marketing services focusing on science, innovation, and culture.