FASEB’s Annual BioArt “Relates to Where We’re Going and What We’re Trying to Do”

By | December 7, 2017

Judith Bond, Past FASEB President, representing American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Now in its sixth year, FASEB’s BioArt competition has proved to be very popular with both public and scientific audiences. The fascinating and captivating imagery comes from actual scientific studies and is entered in the contest by the researchers conducting them. Winning entries are showcased at the National Institutes of Health campus, at several universities, and other public settings (click to view the 2017 winning entries).

The FASEB-sponsored competition started in 2012 during Judith Bond, PhD’s, presidential term. Her research on proteolysis was funded continuously by NIH for 35 years. Dr. Bond has a sustained interest in education, having trained 17 PhD, four MD/PhD, and five MS students.

Recently, Public Affairs Coordinator Kimberli Faison had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Bond about her thoughts on the BioArt competition (interview condensed and edited):

Kimberli Faison (KF): Why is the BioArt competition important to the biomedical and biological research community?

Judith Bond (JB): There is some fantastic art coming out of the community. I think sharing the art with the public helps increase public awareness and shows the kind of research going on. We often have trouble communicating with the public, but through art, I think people can relate more.

KF: How do you feel BioArt helps increase public support and awareness for scientific discovery and innovation?

JB: There are a lot of groups that help lobby or encourage our legislators and the federal government to increase funding for scientists. BioArt is just one other mechanism to keep the awareness and the advances in the public eye. I think scientists also need to be aware of the spectrum of scientific advances and activities. We tend to be very isolated in terms of our own science. The more awareness of the various types of science there is, and the better it will be for funding all different types of science.

KF: When you were FASEB President, several of the first BioArt winners were invited to attend FASEB’s centennial celebration. Why do you think their presence was important?

JB: It expanded the view of what FASEB does and what FASEB scientists do in ways that many people can relate to. I think it puts a face on the scientists that created this fantastic art, highlighting them and their work.

KF: What attributes or elements in BioArt images and videos do you find most compelling and why?

JB: First is the visual impact because it draws people in. But how it relates to the science that people are doing – this is the second compelling aspect of the art. Scientists often work with things you can’t see; molecules and reactions underlying the basics of what we do. But these images are concrete ways of showing what it is we’re working with. It relates to where we’re going and what we’re trying to do.

(Editor’s note): This year’s BioArt competition winners, unveiled on Tuesday, December 12, can now be viewed via the 
FASEB BioArt webpage, along with past winners and more information about the competition.