Microbial Magic

Anatomy, Inspiration, Prints, Traditional Work

The season of giving will soon be upon us so I thought I this would be a great opportunity to search the web and curate a mini exhibition of the anatomically awesome things that people create! For the first of this series lets start small, with some microbes!

Society6 is one of the sites I joined last year to help promote my work. And through it I have been able to find a variety of fresh yet talented artists:

Microbe 1 by Veronica Martinis


Microbe Family by AMOSLIDE

(And I am not quite sure what this is, but I like it too  … )

Microbes are also quite fashionable:

Bacteria – Thousands Of ‘Em (Pink) by Chayground

Microbe Onsie

Histoplasma Capsulatum by Yours Truely 😉 ( Autumn Kulaga )

Retro Amoeba Earrings by LemantulaDesigns


Or maybe you know someone that appreciates more tangible objects. You know grown adults searching for “collectables” ( a.k.a desk toys) .

Bacteriophage T7 Model

Shapeways is an amazing site bringing 3D printing and prototyping capability to the masses.

4c9o by Virtox

E-coli Toxin by Anthromod


And of course we can’t forget about the more commonly known plush microbes. Cuddly enough for an infant, even the bed bug is adorable!

Bed Bug Plush


Alicia Watkins is an Etsy Vendor who will create any one of a variety of microbes by cross stitch:

Microbes cross stitch set by Alicia Watkins

Or perhaps you are crafty enough to try out some of her patterns yourself?!


Know of any other microbial wonders? Feel free to share in the comments of this post!

Light in the modo tunnel

3D, Molecular

My animation is seemingly becoming shorter, and I almost gave up on modo but it turns out I was just being an impatient user.

I am liking the feel… even without any materials.. but I think I will play around with the shaders. RT

The main molecule, reverse transcriptase, is a low-poly version of PDB’s reverse transcriptase 2hmi.

Going into the molecule from the left of the image is single stranded RNA created from nucelotide PDB files ( obtained through mMaya tutorial : DNA: Variations on a theme) . I created a model for A, T, C, and G nucleotides. Then I randomly instanced one of the four models and using the maya pathAnimate function, the nucleotide was assigned to animate on a curve. I did the same with the DNA strand, however I created a model for each pair which would exists and randomly instanced the pair. I didn’t get to use particles like I wanted… to create a ‘blob’ effect however I think it is turning out very nice.

As soon as vimeo catches up with me you can see part of the animation here:

WIP Reverse Transcriptase

Working at a Molecular Level

3D, Just Learning, Molecular, WebGL

The molecular world is a fascinating place. What captivates me is the visuals we accept as a part of the molecular environment tend to be theoretical. This environment is outside of a human’s visual capacity, therefore in order to better understand the form of the chemical compounds we come up with visual mechanisms to understand their structures (of course we use math and very expensive equipment to verify our theories).  After establishing a foundation in chemistry, human understanding of chemical properties led to the capability of visualizing complex chemical structures. A few of the visual mechanisms developed are backbone, ribbon, ball & stick, space-filled and surface models. Through apprehension of structural form, a chemical compound’s functional mechanisms can be better understood.

Image for Chemical Compound Models, via Nick Woolridge

© 2008 Nick Woolridge

This passed Wednesday our class learned how to extract and manipulate files from the Protein Data Bank and use them to visualize chemical models. We explored different methods and programs such as Chimera and mMaya. Another program we did not go over, but worth exploring, is BioBlender.

The model I have decided to play with is the human growth hormone (GH). This hormone is manufactured in the anterior pituitary gland, then released into the blood stream where it then travels to the liver. In the liver GH stimulates the production of  insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 then leads to the growth of long bones as well as facilitate growth of muscle cells.

After extracting the data from the Protein Data Bank website, I slightly modified the surface model in Chimera. I played around with the colors of the different chemicals, and tried to understand how each molecule was broken down. Sometimes the protein can be divided into different chains.

Link to WebGL - Human GH Surface Model

Link to WebGL - Human GH Ribbon Model

My next step is to use take the extracted PDB file and display the molecule in a 3D environment. Stay tuned for sweet visualizations ahead!