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.

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

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.

Art Project: Microbes Rule the World

Title: Microbes Rule the World

By: Samantha Pershing

Media: I used fine tipped markers to complete this project.

Artist’s Statement: During this semester I have really gotten an appreciation for how much microbes impact the world. Without microbes completing the nitrogen and carbon cycle, creating nutrients for other organisms, or even cleaning up after our mistakes, the world could not function as it does now. I wanted to make a project that really showed this. For my art project, I used pointillism (where you use dots to create a picture [i.e. no lines]) to draw a scene that you would look at when you are first looking into a microscope through the eyepieces, and both of your eyes are still seeing two different parts of the picture. I wanted to use pointillism to symbolize microbes, even though microbes are not always coccus. I drew on one side of the picture a Gram stain that my bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus, created that reminded me of a picture of a flower. The other side was a drawing of the world. I wanted this drawing to symbolize a few key concepts. One, the microbes that we identified in our projects all have their own unique place in the world. They are all not just bacteria in a petri dish, but microbes that affect how this world functions. That is why the two scenes are overlapping. And two, I wanted to depict that we do not know everything about the world. There are so many different aspects that are still a mystery. Therefore, I made the world sort of breaking out of its confinement to signify this. Overall, I am really happy with how this picture turned out, and I hope you guys like it too.

Credit: I used the Earth picture from this website as a template for my Earth:

Also, here is my picture that I took of Staphylococcus aureus: