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Phage vs. Bacteria

Phage vs. Bacteria – Virus in an epic battle to infect and conquer its host bacteria


Bacteriophage, or phage, viruses that infect bacteria, pre-date dinosaurs. They are the most abundant and diverse organisms in the biosphere. They have been in a constant state of evolution and have adjusted to their environment while exchanging genes and traits with their bacterial hosts. In the end, they make sense, and are beautiful in their own unique ways, like a patchwork quilt or a post-apocalyptic robot constructed with spare parts and gears.

original phage vs bacteria

Original Phage vs. Bacteria – oil pastel on paper, 14″ x 11″

Phage vs. Bacteria depicts one virus in an epic battle to infect and conquer its host bacterium. My inspiration was Jules Verne’s 19th century novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The phage is the sea monster that attacks Captain Nemo’s submarine, the Nautilus, in this instance, a bacterium. Both phage and bacterium are depicted with steampunk elements in line with the style of the Nautilus in the 1954 science fiction film. The original artwork was an oil pastel on paper. I then vectorized the image for printing. This design was the visual identity for a regional science symposium for undergraduate students in Florida in April 2018.

Florida symposium t-shirts

Florida symposium t-shirts

Zika in the Americas

Zika in the Americas – Virus experts collaborate to study an international health crisis


Zika was first isolated in Uganda in 1947. For decades Zika infections in humans were sporadic. Perhaps cases of Zika went underreported, since its symptoms were similar to other fever-causing diseases and most cases are asymptomatic.

By the 1980s, Zika had spread beyond Africa and had become endemic, or habitually present, in Asia. Many individuals living in these regions may be immune to the virus.

The first reported Zika outbreak outside of Africa and Asia occurred in the Pacific, in Micronesia, in 2007. To our knowledge there were no associations with microcephaly or Guillain-Barre reported at the time.

Zika transmission in the Pacific wasn’t reported again until 2013, when French Polynesia experienced an explosive outbreak. In 2014 further outbreaks were reported in New Caledonia, Easter Island and the Cook Islands. When French Polynesia experienced another outbreak in 2014, there were reports of Zika being transmitted to babies, most likely in utero, and complications associated with Guillian-Barre in adults.

By early 2015 the virus had spread to the Americas, and the first confirmed case of locally acquired Zika in the region was confirmed in May 2015 in Brazil.

Zika in the Americas tshirts

Zika in the Americas – T-shirts were printed for collaborating scientists.

This design depicts the spread of mosquito-transmitted Zika virus, as it traveled throughout 48 countries and territories in the Western hemisphere from 2015 to present day. A female mosquito (only females bite) is shown carrying a Zika virus particle. The virus spread explosively throughout the Americas by the bite of infected mosquitoes to people who had never been exposed.

Zika in the Americas became the visual identity for an international group of scientists that studied the spread of the virus throughout the Americas. Their findings were posted to bioRxiv and published co-currently as 3 separate articles in 2017 in the journal Nature.


 

Steampunk Phage

steampunk phage original and negative

Steampunk Phage Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. Original (left) and color negative (right).

Steampunk Phage – Its contagious style will be sure to delight your inner geek.


Bacteriophage, or phage, viruses that infect bacteria, pre-date dinosaurs. They are the most abundant and diverse organisms in the biosphere. They have been in a constant state of evolution and have adjusted to their environment while exchanging genes and traits with their bacterial hosts. In the end, they make sense, and are beautiful in their own unique ways, like a patchwork quilt or a post-apocalyptic robot constructed with spare parts and gears.

This was my first Steampunk Phage design. It was built from repurposed gears and machine parts like a retro-futuristic steampunk style robot. It became the visual identity for a regional science symposium for undergraduate students in Florida and later its negative color image became the theme for a week-long, international virus discovery workshop for science professors.