(March 10, 2014)

Students display, celebrate "Beautiful Biology"

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary students are stretching out their celebration of Brain Awareness Week through the months of March and April with school demonstrations and an exhibit, "Beautiful Biology," at the Meadows Museum of Art. The Shreveport-Bossier and Centenary communities are invited to join the students at the free opening reception for the exhibit, March 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Brain image art
The Phoenix of the Brain, David Burch, 2011

The art displayed represents three separate Centenary classes and three distinct representations of neuroscience:

Creative Brains
To help enhance their understanding of the three-dimensional anatomy of the human brain, Introduction to Neuroscience students were given the assignment of building a brain. Each life-sized model represents 25 anatomical structures in their approximate location within the brain. Students were encouraged to construct the models out of any non-perishable medium.

Perceptual Art
The human brain uses various heuristics or shortcuts to help humans understand the world. In most cases, these shortcuts allow humans to quickly identify and then understand the information detected (visual, auditory, etc.). However, these same shortcuts sometimes produce incorrect or misleading perceptions. For this project, Sensation and Perception students were asked to create an original piece of art that uses such shortcuts to achieve a specific end; for example, the illusion of depth, motion, or faces.

Genomic Art
Within a personís genome (the DNA), there are locations along each chromosome that vary from one individual to the next. These differences "markers" allow us to navigate specific genomes for various purposes, including paternity tests, determining the genetic basis of disease, and forensics applications. As a part of the Molecular Genetics class, students looked at a subset of these markers to explore variation among their own genomes. The variable length DNA sequences were visualized through gel electrophoresis, and the resulting images were then manipulated to alter color and intensity.

Dr. Greg Butcher, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, will serve as Guest Curator for the Creative Brains and Perceptual Art pieces while Dr. Becki Murphy, Assistant Professor of Biology, will serve as Guest Curator for the Genomic Art.

Students in Introduction to Neuroscience will also present brain-related demonstrations throughout March and April at Centenary, Sci-Port, and area elementary schools.

The "Beautiful Biology" exhibit will be open through April.

Brain Awareness Week is a global initiative to increase public awareness of brain research.

The Meadows Museum of Art is located on the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana at 2911 Centenary Boulevard in Shreveport, LA. The Museum offers free admission and is open from 12-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; from 12-5 p.m. on Thursday; and from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information or to schedule field trips, contact the Museum at 318.869.5040.

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