Blog 5 -Lab tours (Part 2)

We have now seen four different labs. For the labs that we saw today please answer the following questions:

What approaches are these labs using for science communication? How does it relate to their research or benchwork? What was the most interesting thing that you noticed during the lab visits and why?

34 Comments

  1. The labs use a lot of color and diagrams to communicate the science they are trying to explore. Many of the labs had very complex studies that couldn’t simply be explained through words alone and the use of art and diagrams helped to communicate their research to a much broader audience. I thought it was interesting how a lot of the labs weren’t aware of how much they did rely on art and imagery in general to communicate their studies.

    Like

      1. I, too, think it’s really amazing how important visuals are to field like science not just for public perception but for scientists as well. They just help to a create a level of understanding words alone cannot give.

        Like

    1. I agree that the art displays really helped communicate the complex scientific topics. Your notion about how the labs themselves were often not even aware of how much they rely on art as communication is super interesting and insightful!

      Like

    2. I agree. Before I went to these labs, I thought there wouldn’t be a lot of images. It’s so surprising to see that scientists depend so much on images to communicate. The number of images in the medical building can literally match that of Cohen Hall.

      Like

  2. The labs were using a variety of colorful graphs of cells (flow cytometry) in combination with simpler graphs depicting the overarching idea of their research. Using these methods, they are able to both clearly and detailedly communicate their research. For example, in using the powerful microscopes, they are able to show the different types of proteins/genes in cells, which helps explain the connection between cells. The most interesting thing I learned was that the Crowe lab obtains all of their disease blood samples from real patients all over the world.

    Like

    1. The research being conducted at the Crowe lab is really astounding. I was almost shocked when he said that they fly people in to the United States in order to take samples from them and study their blood. It just goes to show you just how intricate research is, and how seriously scientists regard their work.

      Like

      1. I think it also shows the seriousness and extent of the issue. Flying in people from all over the world highlights just how far the diseases spread across the world.

        Like

    2. I really think getting disease blood samples from real patients is so cool. I think using blood-like substance as an art medium could be really creative and produce visually striking image

      Like

      1. In your personal opinion, where is the line between artistically pleasing and gross/inappropriate? (If there is any necessity to distinguish them at all)

        Like

    3. I also found it pretty cool how labs use art for a variety of purposes—from explaining complex concepts that they are studying to depicting simply overall idea of their research.

      Like

  3. I was unable to attend the lab tours but looked at the class activity blog posted to gain a sense of the labs. I find it very interesting that both labs were described to rely heavily on visuals to accurately portray their discoveries. The previous two labs seemed to use them more as an aid but not a necessity. I wonder if this is because we only see portions of their labs and works, or if the labs genuinely have different mindsets and drastically different focuses? I find the research of the Crowe lab to be particularly intriguing as I am fascinated by pathology studies and like how they attempt to study them in humans exclusively.

    Like

  4. While I was not able to visit these last two labs, I did read the blog post and other students’ reflections. It seems like both the Calipari and Crowe labs showed the techniques they use to carry out their research, with one example being advanced imaging. This is a form of visual communication, but it seems like the previous two labs used more visuals to communicate their science to a broader, less knowledgeable audience. However, the Crowe lab did show an example of recent cover art that did a great job of portraying an advanced topic in a simple manner. I find the Calipari Lab’s research particularly interesting, as I am at least minoring in Neuroscience and enjoy learning about the mechanisms behind mental disorders.

    Like

  5. I liked the Calipari lab tour because I enjoyed the experience of what they do in the lab. They show us what they do to neural circuits to integrate experiences with positive and negative stimuli to guide the future behavior. And the molecular dysregulations that drive the maladaptation in these processes over time.

    Like

  6. The Calipari lab showed us some of their images regarding viral transfection to show where specific proteins were and weren’t located. I thought that this was the most interesting part of the tour because it shows what can’t be seen by the naked eye or a normal microscope. They explained the premise of their research without using too many technical terms. Additionally, one member of the Calipari lab showed us a visual diagram in order to better explain his research. We also saw some of their posters. Both the Calipari and Crowe labs showed us some of the instruments they used. The Crowe lab didn’t show us too many “traditional” images, but members of the lab did show us state-of-the-art equipment. This directly related to their work because these apparatuses generated much of their data. In particular, I liked seeing the ELISA setup for the Crowe lab.

    Like

  7. I was unable to attend the lab tours, but obtained some useful information from blog posts and lab websites. It seems that these two labs did not depend on as many works of art as the former two labs did. Some tools involved in their presentations are real samples or apparatuses they used. I think these are actually very cool. By getting inspirations from disease blood samples from real patients, I’m sure we can do amazing artwork with very intense color like red and black.

    Like

    1. would you ever consider using (fake) blood as a medium? alternatively, what do you think using blood would add to a piece of art?

      Like

    2. I personally love red ink designs so I am excited to see what you come up with! Are you looking for more of a darker themed societal piece or still more informational?

      Like

  8. The Calipari lab studies addictive behavior in mice. A researcher in the lab showed us a graphic that he had created to effectively sum up their research for a grant. He emphasized the importance of that visual in communicating their research to the people who fund their work. The Crowe Lab showed us the machines that they use for their work and explained to us that the lab is unusual in the amount of people they have working there and also their collaboration with other labs around the world.

    Like

    1. The visual he showed us was really cool, I wonder if we could combine the ideas of that visual with imagery they showed us under the microscopes to create art?

      Like

    2. I too saw the large number of machines that this lab used. I wonder if we could’ve created geometric designs and art using the motion of these machines by attaching a paintbrush and a sheet of paper to the moving flasks?

      Like

  9. Both labs used a lot of data to help communicate science. Moreover, they would try to add art to these data tables in order for the information to be better communicated. The Crowe lab, especially with the one person, practically begged us for cover art given that they were submitting a lot to journals at this period in time. My favorite part of the labs was when we saw the very expensive machinery in the Crowe lab, it really intrigued me to see that millions of dollars were right here next to us being used for knowledge.

    Like

    1. I completely agree with your last point, it’s crazy how patient these scientists and the funders of the research are with results and findings knowing that each month of running the lab costs a fortune.

      Like

    2. I think that your observation about the Crowe lab really indicates the necessity of combining science with art, or, more specifically, using art to communicate science. It makes me wonder why scientists and artists don’t collaborate more often, because the relationship seems like a mutually beneficial one.

      Like

    3. I also noticed that the Crowe lab seemed very eager for good art! You would think that (after all the work that they poured into their research) the art would be the least worrisome part of the process (of publishing a paper)—but having good art only adds that much more to a paper.

      Like

  10. I liked these last two labs the best because although there weren’t as many visuals already on the wall as there were in the Hasty and Skaar labs, these last two labs have very interesting equipment and space to create many visuals. The Calipari lab had really cool visuals of proteins and neurons under different microscopes and machines that could easily be converted into beautiful visuals, while the ideas such as global disease presented in the Crowe lab lend themselves to easily understandable art pieces. Both of these labs showed us visuals that directly convey the results of their research and images yielded from the tests they run. The most interesting thing I noticed during the visits is how much labs such as the Crowe lab collaborate with the rest of the world to drive new scientific knowledge.

    Like

    1. I agree with you in that Calipari lab showed us some really beautiful images. I also thought that it was awesome that they were rooted in a scientific basis–they could be valuable for a research publication, poster, or presentation. These types of images are naturally compelling.

      Like

    2. I really did enjoy these last two visits as well because of the scope of the labs themselves and how much they had to offer. Knowing that right here in our front yard we have so much happening that is advancing knowledge at a global scale makes me even more enthusiastic to learn and work.

      Like

    3. I was not able to attend these lab tours, but I find it super interesting that, while these labs relied less on traditional art, they used machines and naturally created visuals (from microscopes) to demonstrate their research.

      Like

    4. I like that the Crowe lab focused on more easily understandable pieces as I think if you get too complex the public or other viewers will loose interest. Do you think their use of art furthered their collaborations dynamics or just add a little to the already existing ones?

      Like

  11. Every lab has its own unique approach to science communication which I think gives the labs a certain level of individuality, but what I most appreciate about how the labs are approaching science communication is that, universally, each lab is trying to make their information understandable and eye-catching. Of course, lab research is for those who study it and those interested, but often I find it important to be able to communicate to the public. Complex research can become bewildering when presented in an enormous graph, so I could appreciate the labs that had multiple, separate graphs that each conveyed a certain aspect of their research so that people could better understand the whole.

    Like

  12. We saw a wide variety of visuals used for science communication. Some of the most impactful were the red blood cells from the Skaar lab and the adipose tissue from the Hasty lab. They were the most accessible visuals to the public that we saw on our tours, While, they did not by themselves convey strong messages, they encouraged curiosity and question asking about what they represented. They also gave personality to the microscopic entities that most people probably rarely think about.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s