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Biological Chemistry

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Brilliant bacteria

January 30, 2018

A photo of a sea turtle painted with fluroescent proteins in a petri dish.
Credit: Erik Rodriguez

The medium for this work by Erik Rodriguez may look like fluorescent paint, but in fact, it’s alive! Rodriguez learned to paint with bacteria expressing fluorescent proteins as an outreach activity when he was a postdoc in the lab of Chemistry Nobel laureate Roger Tsien. In this image, Escherichia coli that express enhanced Cyan Fluorescent Protein glow green and blue, while those expressing mTangerine glow purple and red. Rodriguez painted this sea turtle shortly after Tsien died in 2016. Now with a lab of his own at George Washington University, Rodriguez plans to continue Tsien’s tradition of using bacteria paintings as a way to teach others about fluorescent proteins.

Submitted by Erik Rodriguez

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CORRECTION: The spelling of Roger Tsien’s name was updated on Feb. 7, 2018. It is “Tsien,” not “Tsein.”


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