Posts tagged fungus

Warm Wishes

It has been another year and with that more fungus in my life (and another more human bundle of joy). I tried my best to get these fungus to behave (and my children) but we can’t always control them. So below is my newest artwork. It says Warm Wishes and is as cozy and warm (and fuzzy) of a cabin I could get with fungus. Enjoy and happy holidays to you.

Warm Wishes

Snow and smoke: Neosartorya fischeri 181; Wreath and ‘Warm wishes’: Aspergillus nidulans A4; Cabin: Aspergillus terreus 20843. Image: Stephanie Mounaud / JCVI

Inoculating loops roasting in an open fire
The negative 80 nipping at your fingers
The incubators beeping like a choir
And the aroma of bacteria just seems to linger

Everybody knows resistance and recombination
Help to give us such a fright
Teeny Tiny Bacteria with their constant mutations
Will make it hard for us to sleep at night

But they all know that scientists will find a way
We’re using sequencing and synthetic life
And every single strand of DNA
To see if we can really end the lifelong strife

And so really think before you join the craze,
You will be in the lab every day.
Although it’s rewarding, many times we’re in a daze
But we do take a break for the happy holidays!

Understanding Complex Data through Better Visualization

Recently, researchers at JCVI reported on the Rhizoctonia solani mitochondrial genome which was the largest fungal mitochondrion to be sequenced to date. We showed that its unusually large size was probably due to the expansion of multiple genetic elements that populated the genome in somewhat of a ‘parasitic’ relationship. The visualization was meant to impress the number and variety of these repetitive genetic elements, and was selected in a commentary in  FEMS Microbiology Letters as an example of how to summarize molecular data in order to obtain an overall view of the results.

The outermost circle represents the chromosome and repetitive elements. Other important features such as genes, endonucleases, exons, RNAseq coverage are represented in the concentric circles respectively. Grey links represent short repeats (< 35bp) found up to 100 times in the genome; colored links show the location of repeats and follow the coloration in Track 1.

The outermost circle represents the chromosome and repetitive elements. Other important features such as genes, endonucleases, exons, RNAseq coverage are represented in the concentric circles respectively. Grey links represent short repeats (< 35bp) found up to 100 times in the genome; colored links show the location of repeats and follow the coloration in Track 1.

‘Twas the night before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the building
All our creatures were stirring, even our mold;
The dishes were placed in the incubator with prayer,
In hopes that pure growth soon would be there;

The scientists were nestled all close to their screens instead
While swirls of DNA danced in their heads;

My coworker in her labcoat, and I with my pipettor,
Had just settled down for a long overnighter,

When out in the lab there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my microscope to see what was the matter.
Away to the incubator I flew like a flash,
Tore open the doors then saw what was trash.

When, what to my tired red eyes should appear,
But a bunch of contaminated plates, there goes my career.

Santa Hat - Ho Ho Ho

Brim and ball: Neosartorya fischeri; Hat: Penicillium marneffei; Ho,Ho,Ho: Aspergillus flavus. Image Credit: Stephanie Mounaud / J. Craig Venter Institute.

Last year, still in an isolated fungal room placed far away from others, I made an attempt at this one, but my stocks were contaminated. Something all fungal folks know something about. (Aspergillus is just EVERYWHERE). So with a little luck (let’s face it, with complete luck) I was able to clean things up and told the fungus to be on its best behavior. However, N. fischeri still did not want to play nice with the P. marneffei…so they remained slightly separated.

Fungal Christmas Tree

Star: Talaromyces stipitatus; Tree: Aspergillus nidulans Ornaments: Penicillium marneffei; Trunk: Aspergillus terreus. Image Credit: Stephanie Mounaud / J. Craig Venter Institute.

I hope everyone enjoys my creation, although the credit goes to my jolly ole fungus for being so wonderfully diverse and satisfying my slightly nerdy creative side.

Fungalman

Hat, Eyes, Mouth, Buttons: Aspergillus niger; Arms: Aspergillus nidulans; Nose: Aspergillus terreus with Penicillium marneffei; Body: Neosartorya fischeri. Image Credit: Stephanie Mounaud / J. Craig Venter Institute.

Let us all show the world the true side of fungus and all its amazing potential. Because we all know they can do more than just sit there and look pretty.

Holiday Art

In a relatively unknown place, on the 3rd floor of JCVI in Rockville, MD, is a small fungal room where art meets science (and of course where all our fungal research takes place). Fungus often gets such a bad reputation for being gross and somewhat ‘standard’. We fungal folks know better and I am hoping to educate others with the underlying beauty that fungi possess, in a funky way. I recognize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I felt this might convince some that fungus can be fun and not just something that grows in the back of your fridge or a nuisance that contaminates your plates. Please enjoy these funky fungal holiday art forms.

Fungal Christmas tree. Top: Talaromyces stipitatus; Tree: Aspergillus nidulans; Ornaments: Penicillium marneffei; Trunk: Aspergillus terreus.

Fungal Christmas tree. Top: Talaromyces stipitatus; Tree: Aspergillus nidulans; Ornaments: Penicillium marneffei; Trunk: Aspergillus terreus.

Fungal snowman. Hat, Eyes, Mouth, Buttons: Aspergillus niger; Arms: Aspergillus nidulans; Nose: Aspergillus terreus with Penicillium marneffei; Body: Neosartorya fischeri.

Fungal snowman. Hat, Eyes, Mouth, Buttons: Aspergillus niger; Arms: Aspergillus nidulans; Nose: Aspergillus terreus with Penicillium marneffei; Body: Neosartorya fischeri.

Fungal Christmas Tree.

Fungal Christmas Tree.

I am open to suggestions and only limited by my own creativity (and of course my current work load) but never by the diversity of the very cool fungal world.