Enlightening look at work of biology researchers

The Swann Building is illuminated with images of animal cells
The Swann Building is illuminated with images of animal cells
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IT’S a marketing craze that began with Gail Porter’s derriere being beamed on to the Houses of Parliament.

But now a Capital science lab is hoping to enlighten the public about its research by projecting vibrant images of its work on to a city building.

Science chiefs at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology illuminated the south face of the Swann Building with magnified pictures of animal cells in a spectacular display of colour and light.

The huge white tower block reflected images of fruit fly cells – infused with fluorescence from jellyfish genes – to create a stunning architectural artwork.

The projection, which ran from dusk until 11.30pm yesterday and is due to continue tonight, is said to be best viewed from vantage points in Liberton, the Braids and Alnwickhill.

Sarah Keer-Keer, a spokeswoman for the research centre, explained that the eye-catching event was aimed at “breaking down barriers” between scientists and the public.

“People often have misconceptions about what goes on inside the labs and it was decided that we should show people what we do,” she said.

“The lab carries out cell biology research and that means, among other things, research into cancer cells and Rett Syndrome, which is a rare type of autism only found in girls.

“The images of the cells are astonishingly colourful and vibrant and someone had the idea of projecting the images on to the building.

“It’s about trying to make a connection between local community and what were do here.”

The projection is essentially a dazzling advert for a larger outreach project being undertaken at the centre called Through the Lens, which aims to engage people in the history of scientific discovery.

Hosted at the John Hope Gateway at the Botanic Garden, the exhibition will offer visitors the chance to use a microscope, meet a scientist and discuss the work of current and historical scientists. Researchers at the centre will even don clothes from the renaissance era in a visual depiction of early scientific breakthroughs.

One of the characters portrayed is Robert Hooke, a pioneering scientist who was the first person to record what he saw through a microscope through etches.

Ms Keer-Keer added: “I really hope the projections make them feel more inspired by a building that has always stood here.”