Art Project

Building the HPV Capsid


Style:  visual arts

Medium:  modelling clay


Research: virions, capsomeres, capsids, HPV capsid, geometric symmetry in nature.

Conceptualizing: Modelling clay allowed a space-filling construct which could be used to show organizational elements. This also allowed me to create the functional purpose of a jewelry or knickknack box.

Construction: Once I picked a shape to represent capsomeres (small spheres), it took some time to make 360. Unfortunately, there was limited surface area on each sphere to prep for connection scoring. They became distorted as I “mooshed” them into neighbors. In this respect, this model poorly represented the spaces naturally occurring between capsomeres in a capsid. I then assembled the clusters into arrangements of six clusters. Assembled, each half of the functional piece contained six arrangements of six clusters. Notably, my capsomere clusters were arranged as 2D pentagons. This is not an accurate representation of how the natural proteins would assemble. The conformation of each naturally occurring cluster is consistent with other clusters, however, which I did reflect here.

Microbiology Concept:  I explored the symmetry found in nature. In this case, my reference was abiotic, but certainly found in nature and microbiology. I tried to build an icosohedral capsid reflecting the arrangement of proteins in the HPV capsid. I was intrigued by how 72 capsomere clusters could be symmetrically divided between 20 faces, while still reflecting the 12 vertices as points rather than non-specific areas. I wanted to show how even non-geometric shapes such as proteins could demonstrate geometric symmetry when arranged in repeating patterns. As an aside from symmetry, I demonstrated the “hollow” nature of the capsid shell around nucleic acid by showing both circular and linear genetic elements inside the opened model.

Cluster of 5 Capsomeres
72 Clusters of Five Capsomeres
Assembled Capsid
Opened Capsid with Circular and Linear Genetic Elements


“Harry Potter and the Lesson in Latin”

Savanna Ratky:

I created a short comic using crayons and pens to draw on paper. I made it Harry Potter themed, as that is a series that I enjoy, and that I thought most readers would relate to. I specifically made this about the iconic scene where Hermione, Ron, and Harry are trying out a new spell and Ron mispronounces it as LeviosA. Hermione then corrects him by saying “it’s LeviOsa not LeviosA’. The concept I chose to make the work about was specifically the use of “bacterium’ and “bacteria’, which are commonly missued by people. Bacterium is the singular version of bacteria.

Microbiology Menagerie

Title: “Microbiology Menagerie”

I decided to make a collage of drawings that I drew from pictures of microbes in our textbook. I chose pictures that I thought looked cool/interesting. The title references a menagerie, which is “a strange or diverse collection of people or things.” This collage is diverse because it includes microbes from all of the (current) trees of life: Bacteria (Thiomargarita, Green Sulfur Bacteria, Purple Sulfur Bacteria, and Serratia marcescens), Eukaryota (Giardia intestinalis, Plasmodium falciparum, Volvox carteri, and Euglena) and Archaea (Korarchaeum cryptofilum). It is also strange, in a sense, because microbes can often seem strange to humans, in both their size and in their different lifestyles. I used a regular graphite pencil, colored pencils, and sketch paper to make the drawings.


My name is Joesi Lou Zastrow and I wrote a song, my first one, entitled Earthen.

This song was inspired by the microbial processes in the hereafter; and to those that came before, in order to make life possible. Microbial decomposition is essential to global nutrient and carbon cycling and is responsible for the return of all decomposable materials back to the earth, including us. Another concept included in the song is the estimation that the human body is made up of as many bacterial cells as human cells, “I am only half of me.’

I hope you enjoy it, I had a lot of fun with it.


Easing back into the earth,

Giving my thanks to the dirt

To be turned into past,

Beautiful cause we don’t last


I hope in life to understand

Just half as much as what’s on the palm

Of my hand


Feeling lost but I’ll be found

When returned to sweet ground

Broken down, rebuilt ain’t it profound


And I’d say I’ll miss this

But the only thing I won’t be missing are my bones


And I wonder where these parts of me will be

A million years away,

A lovely mystery

But after all, I’m only half of me


I am of and will return,

Assisted by a friendly little world

I am of and will return,

Assisted by a friendly little world


Art Project Lukash Platil

I created a digital collage using Photoshop. I read a journal article titled The Origin of Life on Earth-Viruses and Microbes and attempted to combine visuals that conveyed connections and interpretations of information being presented. I would read until I though of something to add to the collage and would place the image in a spot that seemed like was tied to the other points being presented in the piece.

I would say this is a case of a good idea and poor execution. Creating a sort of brain map of what it is like to read a microbiology article seemed like a great visual but I had zero Photoshop skills before starting this project so the 5 hour minimum did not go a long way. Also I am not sure how Fair Use ties into a computer generated collage but I do not think it is plagiarism.

Microbiology conveyed:

Life on earth is hypothesized to have have originated in microbial form. The first life is thought to have arisen from a sort of primordial soup or a pool of inorganic and organic compounds that came together to form the precursors for life. There are arguments made of whether genetic material came around first or metabolic pathways arouse first. There is also an idea that life was planted on earth by a meteorite. The article I read on this focuses on the possibility of viruses being the first living thing on Earth. They support this by discussing various traits viruses can have and how these compounds could have assembled in these primordial pools.

Title: Far Too Long

Art Project “Biome in a Bottle’ by Bryant Griffith

This is my sculpture of a microbiome that completes the entire carbon cycle. The title of my piece is «Biome in a Bottle » The biological concept I was going for was the completion of the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle is how one of our most important elements, carbon, is transferred throughout our environment between different reservoirs via processes. On example of a reservoir and process would be animals respirating (process) CO2 in the atmosphere (reservoir). Plants carbon fix (process) this carbon into oxygen which is released back into the atmospheric reservoir of gas. In order to integrate the complete carbon cycle in my Biome in a Bottle, I added multiple elements that acted as a miniature version of the natural reservoirs and processes that occur in our world’s carbon cycle. My sculpture is made of three 1-liter soda bottles; in the bottom there is water with fish and an aquatic plant. The aquatic plant creates enough oxygen to support the system through photosynthesis. The heat of the sun causes water to evaporate, funneling into the top biome via the net-filtered opening. This water and carbon is able to be absorbed by the soil in the top biome. The top biome contains a layer of rocks, followed by soil and dead plant matter. Inside this area, a slice of potato and crickets was added. The potato and dead plant matter would feed the cricket while the water from the basement biome moistened the soil. The soil would then respirate the absorbed carbon.

Recycled Bacteriophage

Title: Recycled Bacteriophage

By: kcasillas

I used materials found in our recycle bin to create the infamous bacteriophage. My inspiration was the viral lytic life cycle of bacteriophages; hijacking host DNA to change and replicate into new bacteriophages. I thought this process was analogous to recycling; using materials purposed for various specific purposes, (because bacteriophage infect specific species), and using them to create a new bacteriophage from existing material. I modeled the recycled phage after a  Myoviridae species, which is a non- enveloped, DNA virus and has been used in the treatment of Staphylococcus aureus infectious diseases with phage therapy. My decision to use a recycled breakfast cereal box and a plastic water bottle was based on an article I read about phage therapy in the treatment of gastrointestinal health issues, which found that tolerable doses of the myovirus could selectively promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria while selectively eliminating harmful gut bacteria.


Microbial World

Title: Microbial World and its Diverse Species

By: Grace Mikkelsen

I made this painting using acrylics as a medium. It represents the various microbes commonly found in the microbial world. It includes the flagellated E. Coli, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Tenericutes, Aquificales, Gemmatimonadetes and Verrucomicrobia.   This artwork took several attempts to make as it was difficult to create using to the visual effect that I wanted to create using only black, white, blue and green. I based the painting off a photo with these colors and then added my own take to create more microbial diversity and include more species. I choose this as my assingnment because I think that painting is a good way to create accurate representations of the microbes that we often find that closely resemble each other and only have slight differences that can be portrayed with details. I also was reminded of my kitchen sinks bacterial diversity when I saw the original image and want to include more of the microbe such as Proteobacteria that my bacterium contained.

Ballads of Microbiology – Kyle Callegari

Oh Flagella


This piece is a word art poem.   The piece is informative about the use and range of flagella as a motile mechanism.   The poem depicts the run and tumble technique employed in the movement of microbes with flagella.   It does not touch on the use of membranous protein receptors in sensing temporal gradients, but rather how the cell responds to these gradients.   the piece is engaging with an audience prompting the reader to interact with the page.   For a viewer that is unfamiliar with flagella as a form of motility for microorganisms, the piece give them a visual representation that may further cue them into the intent of the piece.


Personifying Archaea

Consider the methanogen, who’s not at all a gentleman,

I know it is quite grim, but oxygen will kill him.

This bawdy life is not for most, the pace typically slows,

For this frowzy fellow will boast, foul smells satiate his nose.

So if he wants to live in mud, know that it is his lifeblood,

He only eats organic bud, if that’s not for you then move with scud.


Thermophiles won’t pander, their position is staunch and bold.

Speaking out with candor, they’re hyper sensitive to the cold.

While they will detest a chill, they thrive in what they know.

Be thankful you don’t share a bill, or need a hot tub to becalm and grow.

So if you see him wrapped up tight, coiled back to increase his might,

And it seems a wild sight, be understanding of his right.


The halophile seems whiney, although she’s really just precise.

You see she likes things briny, and doesn’t like to ask you twice.

Keeping balance does her well, you could learn a thing here, hun.

When things are going really swell, you’ll find her soaking up the sun.

So when the piquant señiorita, demands a saline margarita,


Just give her what she need-a, curacao will not please-a.

These lives are lived by a specialized few, but would not suit neither me nor you.

Drastic livings are what archaea do, so look at them, if you need an extreme view.


This poem personifies three of the major archaeal groups we have learned about.   It delves into the lifestyles and touches on adaptations that have allowed these phyla to thrive in such extreme niches.   The reader learns methanogens are anoxic,  it hints at their production of methane through energy metabolism, hints at the chemoorganotroph lifestyle they can live, and includes a little about the habitat you can find them in.   The reader learns hyperthermophiles excel in hot environments.   The poem alludes to heat shock proteins and positive supercoiling as well.   The reader learns halophiles prefer salty environments.   The poem also alludes to the use of potassium to maintain osmotic balance, and the use of a light mediated proton pump.


I am a fermenter


I am a fermenter,

If you want a nice wine,

You need only to ask,

I’ll make it quite fine,

Or at least it will pass.


I am a fermenter,

I will make you a beer,

I really don’t mind.

The recipe’s here,

It was easy to find.


I am a fermenter,

I can make you some cheese,

I will make it now,

If you will just stay, please.

It’s fresh from the cow!


I am a fermenter,

I’m fed on such rich food.

My home is a gut,

yet management seems rude.

I might leave out the butt.


This poem highlights products we consume and crucial habitats in which we benefit from the existence of fermenting microbes.   I feel the poem would be an excellent and fun learning tool in an elementary classroom.   It integrates literary and scientific concepts that would be efficient in a classroom setting.