Artist: Anna Bright
Mentor: Nathan Winn
Laboratory: Alyssa Hasty
“The Artist-in Residence program not only gives the research community unique renderings of the processes being studied in an age where standard computerized models are predominant, but also allows students like Anna Bright to explore where her two passions.” intersect.”
As a student studying both neuroscience and art, the Artist-in-Residence program was compelling for undergraduate Anna Bright. Art has always been a principal part of her life; her previous works range from sketches and basic ceramics to commissioned paintings and 14-foot-tall murals. She had never experienced the challenge of portraying a scientific process through art until being introduced to the Hasty lab through the ArtLab/VI4 summer artist-in-residence experience.
Dr. Alyssa Hasty studies the role of the immune system in obesity, focusing on the role that M2-like macrophages play in adipose tissue homeostasis. Her research supports that obesity triggers macrophage activity, signaling the immune cells to respond as they would to diseased tissues. This macrophage process inspired the first two of Bright’s projects, one denoting a macrophage in its inactive state and another after its activation. As a macrophage activates, its appendages lengthen and it undergoes other changes that allow it to phagocytose and kill the target; the color change from blue to red represents the conversion of the macrophage from one phase to another. The final piece of her artist-in-residence project is a more abstract rendering of the invasion of adipose tissue by the immune system. This work depicts the differences between healthy and diseased tissue—represented by the conversion from lively colors to monotone hues—and centers on the progression of macrophage response to obese tissues, as portrayed by the change in shape as they activate.
Abstract of adipose tissue invasion by immune system.
The Artist-in Residence program not only gives the research community unique renderings of the processes being studied in an age where standard computerized models are predominant, but also allows students like Anna Bright to explore where her two passions intersect.