12 April 2016 12:02

Biomedicine students are being encouraged to experiment with ideas through drawing with bacteria as part of a lab competition.

The initiative, led by Dr Jackie Parry and Dr Rod Dillon from Biomedical and Life Sciences, is aimed at boosting creativity by enabling the undergraduates to visualise how the bacteria interact and communicate.

Their artwork in a petri dish explored themes like antibiotic resistance and Ebola infection, using images created by growing bacteria as part of the Microbio Art Show 2016.

Rod Dillon said creativity is what employers are looking for.

“Employers want creative people who come up with new ideas based on concepts learnt on their degree and this is essential. It gives our students the edge when it comes to a job or PhD.”

The winner of the competition was a clock face created by student Matthew Stokes entitled" Time is running out for antibiotics. Alternative treatments need to be developed fast before bacteria become completely resistant."

A red pigmented bacteria grew across the plate and he placed different antibiotic discs around the clock. The clear zones around the first discs show that the antibiotics are working but as the clock approaches midnight, the antibiotics become weaker.

In second place was Will Hardy with artwork entitled ‘Don’t shower in Serratia! Clean your shower to dodge respiratory and urinary damage’.

Hannah Forshaw came third with ‘E.coli present in faeces can cause food poisoning symptoms if ingested including vomiting.’

 Dr Dillon said art and biology had a long history, with the discoverer of penicillin Alexander Fleming a lifelong member of the Chelsea Arts Club.

“It’s about having an eye for patterns which helped him spot the way in which penicillin had wiped out the bacteria in the petri dish.”