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Enormous Beauty at a Miniscule Scale

High tech art show showcases dazzling images of life at its smallest size.

by University of New Mexico Cancer Center
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Image courtesy of the University of New Mexico Cancer CenterSanta Fe is renowned for its culture and art; this March it will host an art show based on science. The fifth annual “Art of Systems Biology and Nanoscience,” is a  two-day public event celebrating new and fascinating ideas and images from the emerging fields of systems biology and nanoscience. The images on display demonstrate the beauty of life at a molecular level.

The event will include presentations by notable scientists Sandra Schmid, PhD, Chair of the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Diane Lidke, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Dr. Schmid is renowned for her work in clathrin-mediated endocytosis. This is a process cells use to transport specific molecules from their surfaces into their interiors. Dr. Lidke is a pioneer in imaging the nanoscale movements and interactions of  molecules on the outer surfaces of cells. Both speakers use innovative single cell and single molecule imaging techniques to observe the behavior and fates of cell membrane molecules. Their striking images combine scientific understanding with remarkable beauty.

The art show will feature an exhibit of original watercolors and scientific illustrations by award-winning artist and author David Goodsell, PhD, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology in the Department of Molecular Biology at The Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Goodsell is the author and illustrator of The Protein Data Bank “Molecule of the Month” feature. The Protein Data Bank is an archive of structural information about biological molecules; its “Molecule of the Month” feature highlights the importance of a selected biological macromolecule. Systems biologists and nanoscientists from UNM and from Los Alamos National Laboratories will provide additional images showing that life at any size can be breathtakingly beautiful.

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Children, teachers and curious adults can also enjoy interactive nanoscale experiments. Graduate students from the UNM Nanoscience and Microsystems degree program and from the New Mexico Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center (CNTC) at UNM will lead the experiments.

“Microscopy has always been a point of intersection between scientists and artists” says Janet Oliver, PhD, the lead organizer for the event. Dr. Oliver is a UNM Regents Professor of Pathology, Director of the New Mexico CNTC, and a member of the Cancer Cell Biology & Signaling Research Program at the UNM Cancer Center. “Our newest technologies support real-time full-color imaging, bringing the science-art intersection even closer.”

About the Art Show
The fifth annual “Art of Systems Biology and Nanoscience” show is free and open to the public. The event will take place March 28 and 29, 2014, at 333 Montezuma Arts in the Railyard area in Santa Fe.

All art will be on display from 4:00 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. on Friday March 29, and from 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Saturday, March 30. Dr. Schmid will give her talk on Friday at 6:00 pm. Dr. Lidke will give her talks at 5:30 P.M. on Saturday.

The children’s interactive nanotechnology experiments will take place 10 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. on Saturday and includes an atomic force microscopy demonstration by Stephen Jett, PhD. A private reception on Friday from 4:30 P.M. to 5:30 P.M. is open to the public but requires registration. For a full agenda and to preregister for the reception, please visit

The event is sponsored by the New Mexico Center for the Spatiotemporal Modeling of Cell Signaling; the New Mexico Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center; the UNM Cancer Center; the Los Alamos National Laboratories Center for Non-Linear Studies; the LANL Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies; and the host gallery, 333 Montezuma Arts.