Medieval Coat of Arms Inspires the Latest BiophysJ Cover

bpj_104_10_coverThe latest cover of the Biophysical Journal was designed to depict the way the project proceeded. Read more about the cover art below from scientist Cesar A. Ramirez-Sarmiento!

The project proceeded via a coalescence of various experimental results into a unified conception. To represent this, I aimed for a design reminiscent of a heraldic structure, like those used on coats of arms during the Middle Age, to bring the images together with the “message.” In these structures, the message is held and protected on both sides by supporters. With this idea in mind, I intended to represent most of our findings through simple but key elements, like the blue icy background that was designed in Adobe Photoshop to evoke the cold environment of the denaturation. The message, that during the process of cold denaturation, subunit dissociation and solvent penetration are concurrent, is depicted by the bifurcated arrow points from the native dimer towards two dissociated and swollen subunits, structures that were rendered using PyMol. Because our findings are the result of measurements of backbone amide hydrogen/deuterium exchange using mass spectrometry, the change of the observed mass spectra during exposure to the cold were drawn using PerSeptive Grams/386 to depict the comparative approach used in this study and were placed on both sides as the supporters. The higher amount of exchange due to the increase in solvent accessibility was also reflected through the coloring scheme used in the structures shown in the middle. Finally, a few water drops drawn on the bottom helped to strengthen the idea of solvent penetration while at the same time improving the design.

I’m very pleased our image was chosen as a cover for Biophysical Journal, and it is not only because it is a renowned journal, or because my colleagues and I are avid readers. I’m also pleased because I truly believe science is, in some way, an art expression: there is a creative process that helps to decide which steps to take and how to develop tools or strategies to conceive a particular concept. In this sense, it is an honor to have the chance to expose our work to other people’s eyes and to illustrate it directly as an art conception.

Interested readers can view our recent research in:

Cesar A. Ramirez-Sarmiento

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