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Our scientists show their artistic side



Many people think of art and science as mutually exclusive, but some scientists working in the Westmead Research Hub are proving that theory wrong.

Late last year, Westmead Research Hub held its Art in Science competition which aims to celebrate the creative side of science, and to prove that researchers can use their imagination.

Researchers from Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) and Westmead Institute for Medical Research (WIMR) took out the top prizes.

One of the winners, Annie Quan from Children’s Medical Research Institute, said her image came about while capturing two “fluorescently-labelled neuronal proteins’’ while doing research into neuroscience.
“What I love about this image are the ‘contacts’ between the two neurons,’’ she said. “It conveys a sense of serenity, like the cells are dancing with each other.”
She said the Art in Science competition gives the general public a glimpse of what researchers see in their daily work.

“There is definitely a connection between art and science,’’ she said. “Science is traditionally seen as a technical and logical field of study. Microscopy and technology enables researchers to see things not just via the naked eye. Art is very much a perspective view and this gives people an insight into the scientific world. The Art in Science Competition brings out the creative mind in us researchers.’’

Fellow winner, Matteo Franco, made his picture with a camera mounted on a cone and a transilluminator, which he uses for his work.

“Usually, when you think of photography in science, your samples are the focus,’’ he said. “But what about the tools you are using to prepare to sample? In particular, your hands? That was my inspiration. I wanted to participate because I find it interesting to share science moments with everybody, especially those not into science. And what’s better than photography, a form of art that has a lot of science behind it?’’

The Westmead Research Hub is one of the largest and most highly regarded research precincts in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a cooperative venture, formed to focus the research activities of the Westmead area for sharing resources and infrastructure and encouraging collaboration.


Olympus Digital Imaging joint winners:

Annie Quan from CMRI, for Dancing with the NeuroStars and

Heeva Barharlou from WIMR, for Early HIV Dynamics in the Human Rectal Mucosa.

Data Visualization winner:

Eunok Lee from WIMR, for Rainbow of HIV-1 Sequences

Zeiss Science Life winner:

Matteo Franco from CMRI, Hands on Science

View’s Choice winner:

Christopher Denes from WIMR, Selfie with a Wild Melad.