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March 6th, 2014

The Art of Science, in photos

By Hoyt Finnamore

microscope760If you find yourself walking through Concourse G at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, or Concourse A at Midway International Airport, be sure to look up. At the walls, we mean. Because you might see some cool images of compelling stuff that might make you look at science -- medical and otherwise -- in a new and different way. Everything from kidney stones to bee brains to plant cell walls. And as you marvel at this display of scientific awesomeness, you can thank Mayo's Nicholas Chia, Ph.D., for his part.

Dr. Chia, a consultant in Mayo's Center for Individualized Medicine's Microbiome Program, recently helped create images on display in the "The Art of Science: Images from the Institute for Genomic Biology” exhibit now on display at both Chicago airports. He collaborated with researchers from the University of Illinois' Institute for Genomic Biology to create images of bacteria and the human microbiome.

The images in the display are much more than just cool art, according to the Institute. They're also meant to represent "scientific breakthroughs and discoveries that will impact how we treat human diseases." Dr. Chia's research includes the study of how the human body functions "in conjunction with the trillions of microbial partners to promote health and prevent diseases." Diseases like colorectal cancer, which is a medical mystery Dr. Chia and his team are trying to unravel by studying how the human microbiome influences human health and may then be used as both "a biomarker and preventive measure" for things like colorectal cancer. (We'll stick with appreciating the art.)

This isn't the first time Mayo has contributed to the exhibit. As you'll note in this blog post, the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine helped produce an artistic photo of a human kidney stone -- "taken with an AXIO Zoom.V16 fluorescence stereo zoom microscope" -- that showed "new information on the formation and disposition of kidney stones" for last fall's exhibit.

In addition to the O’Hare and Midway international airports, "The Art of Science” exhibit will be on display April 3 to April 7, 2014, at the Indi Go Artist Co-Op gallery in nearby Champaign, Ill. (Just in case you happen to be in town and are looking for something artsy and science-y to do.)

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