Antivirus

Artist: Stephanie DeMarco, graduate student in molecular biology, UCLA

Artist: Stephanie DeMarco (@sci_steph)

Acrylic on cardboard, 25 x 35 cm

Arte in bottega, Rome, Italy

May 2012

As an exercise in abstraction, this work depicts a fictional virus through the lens of a broken microscope slide. The virus is modeled on a bacteriophage, a virus that infects bacterial cells. Often thought to look like a lunar lander, these viruses use their spindly leg-like structures to attach to bacteria cells they wish to infect. Once attached to the unwitting cell, they inject their genetic material, either DNA or RNA, into the cell, thus taking advantage of the bacteria to make more copies of themselves. Eventually, when the viruses are satisfied that enough copies of themselves have been made, the new little viruses burst out of the bacteria cell, killing the bacteria in the process.