Penn Medicine News Blog

August 01, 2014 // By Karen Kreeger // Comments

A Picture Really is Worth 1000 Words

Basic Science // Brain and Behavior // Education // Genetics // Heart // Neurodegenerative Diseases // Research

This hackneyed cliché is nowhere more evident than with the Penn Medicine 2014 “Art in Science” winners. They can certainly make pretty pictures with fancy microscopes, but there is also a rich story of scientific inquiry behind each.

Talamas winning image 2014Postdoctoral Fellow Category
Jessica Talamas, PhD/
Capelson Lab: Developmental Patterning in the Fruit Fly Imaginal Eye/Antennae Disc

Jessica Talamas, PhD, is a postdoc in the lab of Maya Capelson, PhD, assistant professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. Talamas studies the proteins that make up the pore of the nucleus, the largest protein complex in a cell. Her winning image is of the imaginal eye and antennae disc from a fruit fly larva – the immature cell cluster that eventually becomes the adult eye and antennae. The blue is the DNA in cell nuclei and the green is the armadillo protein, part of the wnt/wingless signal pathway. This protein is highlighted because her research on the pore proteins asks how these are related to gene expression during development. Talamas mentions that having an artistic side helps her better “portray” research findings and that similar skills – “attention to detail, fine motor skills” – are also involved in her art, chiefly mosaics and textiles. This visualization skill is especially evident in two recent papers from her dissertation, one on nuclear pore assembly and another on the role of specific genes in pore function.

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