'Art of Science' exhibit opens Thursday

'Art of Science' exhibit opens Thursday

CHAMPAIGN — Now in its third year, the "Art of Science: Images from the Institute for Genomic Biology" exhibition will open on Thursday evening at the Indi Go Artist Co-op, 9 E. University Ave.

The exhibition will feature two-dimensional images and video related to research at the University of Illinois institute that addresses significant problems in the environment, medicine and energy use and production.

The idea for the exhibition came from Doug Nelson, owner of BodyWork Associates. Nelson, who believes science is art, wanted to help bridge the town-gown divide through an art exhibit. Nelson has sponsored all three exhibitions; last year, more than 250 community members, students, faculty and staff visited the exhibition, said Nick Vasi, director of communications at the Institute for Genomic Biology.

Vasi provided the following descriptions of some of the research that will be represented by images in the show:

— A miniature bio-bot made of a flexible polymer and living heart cells. The cells beat together, creating a contract-and-release motion that inches the bot forward.

"We use a 3-D printer to build the bot's body layer by layer out of a hydrogel — the material contact lenses are made from. It's about a centimeter long, with a flexible leg that rests on a shorter leg like a cantilever. We also print collagen on the underside of the long leg so that the living cells can attach to it."

— Progenitor cells fusing and differentiating into contractile skeletal muscle tissue.

"Tissue engineering is a promising strategy that could one day provide a cure for patients that need replacements for damaged tissues and organs. Here, we show how stem cells can mature to form skeletal muscle in a matrix bed of proteins. The differentiated muscle fibers are contractile within two weeks."

— Birefringence of glucose monohydrate.

"Using polarized light microscopy, the birefringence of glucose monohydrate (a sugar used extensively in the food industry) is extremely high, confirming the crystalline state of the glucose after hydrate formation. The picture is part of a study characterizing glucose hydrate formation and loss and the long-term storage stability of the food ingredient. Preventing the caking of glucose, such as bag of sugar at home or silo of sugar in an industry setting, is important for product quality as well as cost reduction."

The exhibition at Indi Go will be open for viewing from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 21. For more information, email outreach@igb.illinois.edu or call 333-4619.

Topics (1):Art