Ella Rotman wins Agar Art contest

Mimee Lab student wins first prize from the American Society for Microbiology for alien art

Every year the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) holds an agar art contest as part of their science outreach. The submissions come from all over the world and number in the several hundreds. Pieces are judged by both the art and the accompanying description. The theme for 2023 was "Microbes in Space."

Ella  Rotman in the Mimee Lab submitted this attached piece under the "professional category"  and won first prize overall! The artwork will be proudly featured in the 10th floor corridor of CLSC, so stop by and enjoy the winning entry.

Congratulations to Ella Rotman!


Here is the accompanying description:

Alien Medley 

One of the tantalizing questions of outer space is, “what would aliens look like?” They could be single celled. They could be multi-cellular! There is no shortage of speculation in books and films with only our imagination as the limit. The aliens depicted here are inspired by the “Yip Yip” aliens of Sesame Street and the little green men from the vending machine in the movie Toy Story. The bacteria used is Klebsiella pneumonia, a relative of E. coli that secretes a slimy capsule. Both capsulated and non-capsulated variants of K. pneumoniae were used to draw the aliens. The eyes are disks used for antibiotic susceptibility testing (with permanent marker pupils) and the colors of the agar are different indicator dyes from around the lab. Most of the dyes change color depending on the pH, but one of dyes (Resazurin) changes color in the presence of oxygen. If we were to meet aliens (and their microbiota), I hope they are as friendly and expressive as the ones drawn here.