Biology

DNA mutagenesis for Stanford University

Biology, Illustration

An illustration for Stanford University, showing their novel CRISPR technique, called CRISPR-X.
The goal is to introduce a scattering of random point mutations in a particular region of the DNA, not to directly edit the DNA directly as most CRISPR techniques do. They do this with a hyperavtive deaminase AID (which mutates DNA), and use the CRISPR complex to bring the AID close to the target region, ensuring that it only affects the desired DNA regions.

DNA mutagenesis

Read more about the CRISPR-X technique here.

Bacteria illustrations for Harvard University

Biology, Illustration, In the press

We created a series of illustrations for Harvard University to accompany journal articles on their bacterial research.
These images show:
(left) A pile up of bacteria in different stages of growth and division.
(right) The growth of bacteria over time, as well as the straightening-out of an induced curvature in the young cells.

bacteriabacteria

 

 

 

 

 

More info on their research at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

CRISPR Cas-9 Illustration

Biology, Illustration

We created a piece of art for Science Photo Library, showing the molecular structure of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing complex. The CRISPR-Cas9 protein is used in genome engineering to cut DNA. It uses a guide RNA sequence to cut DNA at a very specific matching site. The Cas9 protein is shown in blue-white. The guide RNA is red, and the double-strand of the DNA is white-grey.
We used actual structural data obtained through x-ray crystallography to build accurate structures.

CRISPR-CAS 9

T-Cell Illustration for Pint of Science

Biology, Chemistry, Illustration

We created a piece of art for Pint of Science which is an international organisation which brings together detailed science talks on a wide range of cutting-edge research, in an informal pub setting, with plenty of beer.
We used data from the Protein Data Bank to build an illustration showing the battle between a tumour and the immune system.  The tumour has expressed proteins to suppress T-cell activity, but a synthetic drug (yellow) acts to block the receptors on the T-cells, meaning that the T-cells are not suppressed and are able to attack the tumour.  This was created for Pint of Science, to accompany a talk in Cambridge.

t-cell and antibodies

BBC Earth – Origins of Life videos on DNA, RNA and ATP

Animation, Biology, Chemistry

We were hired by BBC Earth to produce a series of three animations to accompany a longform article on the Origins of Life. As this was quite a technical article, the videos were to provide some visual relief, explaining some of the complex concepts more clearly. These focused on:

  • DNA, and how it assembles and replicates, allowing the storage and duplication of all the information needed to build an organism;
  • RNA, and how it codes for proteins, which are essential for life.  In the primordial soup, it may have been the first carrier of genetic information, as it is able to store information, replicated and catalyse reactions;
  • ATP, which is used to power every cell.  Proton pumps create a concentration gradient, which forces protons through the ATP synthase motor, which turns ADP into ATP, storing energy inside them that can be transported around the cell and used where needed.

We focused on a high visual quality, while still using real molecular structures throughout.  You can read the article online here:

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20161026-the-secret-of-how-life-on-earth-began

DNA animation:

 

RNA animation:

 

ATP animation:

Epic zoom – atom to galaxy

Animation, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Space

Animation of a zoom out from the inside of a single atom to the entire galaxy.

The first scene shows a single quark, one of three making up a proton (red) in the nucleus of an atom. The nucleus is surrounded by electron shells (blue). The atom is one making up one of the bases (green) in a DNA molecule, which itself makes up a chromosome (X shape) inside the nucleus (white) of a human cell (red). The cell is part of the heart, and the view pulls back from the person’s body showing the streets and buildings of Manhattan, New York City, USA. The pull back continues to show the Earth in its orbit around the Sun, with the orbits of the other planets shown. The Sun is just one of some 500 billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The Milky Way is thought to be some 120,000 light years in diameter (about 1.14 zettametres, or 1.14×101 metres). The proton has a charge radius of between 0.84-0.88 femtometres, or 8.4×1016 metres.

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