Silke Agte, a PhD student in the Neurophysiology Division at the University of Leipzig’s Paul-Flechsig Institute for Brain Research, discusses the inspiration behind creating the image on Biophysical Journal’s latest cover.
1) How did you compose this image?
The image was composed in collaboration with Jens Grosche, who is the computer graphic expert in our team. We just tried to provide a simple and illustrative image of what happens during illumination of the inverted retina by an L-shaped light stimulus. The perspective view shows the arrangement of the light-sensitive cells as well as the light intensity distribution among the cells in this layer if light-guiding radial glial cells transmit the light to groups of such cells.
2) What prompted you to submit your image as cover art?
Research into the physical properties of retinal glial cells is still a new field of science. Cover art provides an additional platform to address a wide readership. In particular, Biophysical Journal attracts people with a variety of biological and/or physical backgrounds, which may be useful for potential cooperation.
3) How does this image reflect your scientific research?
For me, vision is the most fascinating sense; it impresses me that seeing something convinces to such an extent no other sense can compete. The observed results of our research can be summarized in just one image which ironically shows an image again: the image projected through the retinal tissue. Thus, the picture reflects my scientific field in a double meaning.
4) Where do you see the artistry in your image? How did you come to see
I see the artistry of the image in the simplicity of its design. Fundamental research focuses on basic processes which often explain the function of complex systems in a relatively simple way. Furthermore, this suggestive visualization of our results may inspire new ideas and speculations about the sophisticated structures and functions involved in vision.
5) How does it feel to have your image chosen as the cover of an issue
of Biophysical Journal? What is the significance of this for you?
It is a good feeling and a kind of reward for all the work. I hope it will also prove to be significant for my further scientific career to direct the attention of many people to my work.
6) Do you consider yourself an artist as well as a scientist? Any
ideas or aspirations for your next science-as-art submission?
I think it would be immodest to consider myself as an artist; my scientific work teaches me that nature is the original artist of science: it creates the most exciting things, inspires and fascinates people. Of course, I am happy to collaborate with Jens Grosche who, in fact, is an artist of computer graphics. To have our image chosen as the cover of an issue of Biophysical Journal certainly will motivate me to contribute another small artistic puzzle stone to illustrate my future work.
7) Do you have a website where our readers can view your recent
An update of the research section will follow soon.