Biology

Epigenetics animations

Animation, Biology, Chemistry

Our Epigenetics animations are now online in Begin Before Birth‘s series of Youtube Videos.
The animations help explain the concept of Epigenetics, whereby chemical markers on DNA can switch genes on and off – and these markers can be inherited.  Environmental pressures on a parent can lead to adaptation in the child.

Links:
Begin Before Birth’s Epigenetics for Schools

On the Cover of Science Magazine

Biology, Engineering, Illustration, In the press

This week, Science magazine have a special edition on Synthetic Biology, in which they: “explore the breadth of this field and how the construction of new biological systems might be harnessed to serve humanity”.
And they feature our illustration on the cover!  This is where art, science and Lego combine….  Synthetic biology is a field close to our heart, and we’ve previously worked on a range of illustrations and animations.

Equinox Graphics on the cover of Science

Synthetic Biology special issue:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6047.toc
About the cover:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6047.cover-expansion
Our previous animations on Synthetic Biology:
http://www.e-nox.net/blog/?p=174

Epigenetics animations for Windfall Films

Animation, Biology, Chemistry

Windfall Films is one of the leading producers of science & technology programmes, and their science documentaries consistently breathe life into potentially dry subjects.
They hired us to produce  a series of animations to help explain the concept of Epigenetics, whereby chemical markers on DNA can switch genes on and off – and these markers can be inherited.  Environmental pressures on a parent can lead to adaptation in the child.  So it’s not just about which genes a child inherits – their traits can be dictated by which of those genes are activated or suppressed.
Enough science, bring on the pretty stuff…

More info:
Clip 1) Clip showing genes in a DNA section switching on an off;
Clip 2) The concept of the Epigenome – chemical markers on the backbone of the DNA which control the expression/suppression of genes;
Clip 3) This sequence shows DNA coiling around support structures called histones, which then further coil into a compact superstructure (eventually the DNA will be would up still further into chromosomes). The structure is “scanned” which represents the reading of the DNA. “Histone deacetylation” causes the structure to compact tighter, making some of the DNA inaccessible, and leading to read failures (i.e. non-expression of that gene).
Clip 4) Methylation is shown here, whereby a carbon with three hydrogens (methyl group) attaches to specific points on the DNA backbone, and this chemical marker prevents that section of the DNA being read.
Clip 5) Another scanning analogy, showing the methylation of the histone/DNA structure, and the subsequent read failures.

NSF/Science Sci-Vis contest

Biology, Illustration, In the press

This month, Science magazine publishes its annual feature on science and engineering visualisation, which is a fiercely competitive and prestigious arena for the world’s science communicators.
Scientists, illustrators, computer game companies, TV companies and new media producers compete to showcase their work and raise the bar for communication of science and engineering concepts for the purposes of public engagement and education.
We are delighted to announce that we have been selected for an honourable mention in the illustration category, for our illustration of a Bacteriophage doing what it does best: attacking a bacterium!

Bacteriophage Virus

The image was produced in around a week, including some modelling, texturing, lighting, rigging, composition, and retouching work, producing the above image at 7500 x 4500 pixels.
Our reference material (of real bacteriophages – we’re not making this stuff up!)

A1 poster-sized reproductions are available on request, priced at £70 including VAT and delivery – please contact enquiries@e-nox.net
Our image (and animations) can be licensed from our collection held at Science Photo Library, or we are happy to take commissions for new visualisations.
The imaginatively titled “International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge”, in association with the NSF, forms part of the February 2011 issue of Science, which is available now. As they say, “To illustrate is to enlighten.”
Science minisite: www.sciencemag.org/site/special/vis2010/
NSF site: www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/scivis/winners_2010.jsp
Direct link to PDF of the illustration category:
www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6019/848.full.pdf

SPL’s Pick of 2010

Animation, Biology, In the press

Our animation of DNA unravelling with a mutation in a base pair, has made it into Science Photo Library’s pick of 2010. Pretty good, considering they added some 20,000 science clips in the past year!

Creating Life – the new field of Synthetic Biology

Animation, Biology, Engineering

We were commissioned to produce a series of animations to help explore the abstract world of synthetic biology, allowing the concepts of designing and programming bacteria to perform a particular task, in this case creating a colour change when exposed to a parasite – brilliant for testing water sources in remote locations, with a clear visual result.
For information on the documentary itself, please contact Kelly Neaves at kellyneaves@gmail.com

Royal Society Summer Exhibition

Animation, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering

We recently had two animations aired at the Royal Society’s Summer Exhibition. The Royal Society is the national academy of science of the UK, and this event allowed the general public to meet the minds behind some of the UK’s most exciting scientific advances.  We produced two videos for the University of Cambridge‘s Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, showcasing their development work on producing green electricity directly from algae.  One of only 31 teams selected to present their research. Very clever science!

Part 1: Electricity from Algae

Part 2: Scaling-up Electricity Generation from Algae

Links for more information on the science:
http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/news/dp/2010062502
http://www.seefurtherfestival.org/exhibition/view/meet-algae-diversity-biology-and-energy