Microbiology In Art

Microbes are all around us, including in the arts. Often, however, in mainstream fiction microorganisms are used as a clichéd trope or in an unrealistic way, while contemporary artworks involving microbiology are still being developed or are not known to the broad public.

In a new section for the #FEMSmicroBlog, called #MicrobiologyInArt, we want to present how microbiology enters the arts. We will cover virtually all artforms (literature, graphic arts, photography, cinema, comics, music, video games, contemporary art, dance, architecture, design) and want to present compelling examples of microbiology in art, and we will discuss how these can raise awareness on microbiology topics, issues, and potentials.


Antonios Michas

Interests: Contemporary arts
Short bio: Antonios is an academic researcher with a background in microbiology and microbial ecology, as well as an aspiring science communicator. During his Ph.D. studies and postdoctoral research work, he studied microbiomes from several environments, including low-nutrient forest soils, alpine grasslands, thermal springs, and asphalt oil-exposed sediments. He is currently learning about the management of funding calls at the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) of the European Commission. He loves collecting knowledge on a broad range of topics and he is motivated to make an impact with his work, reaching a broad academic and non-academic audience.



Deniz Tunalier

Interests: Photography, digital art
Short bio: Deniz obtained her BSc Food Engineering degree at Middle East Technical University (Turkey). She is currently a MSc student at METU and working on determining the relation between Salmonella and host interaction.





Georgy Kurakin

Interests: Comics, literature, illustrations
Short bio: Georgy is a biologist and science journalist. His primary focus of research is the evolution of multicellularity and pathogenicity in microbes.





Juan Carlos Cambronero-Heinrichs

Interests: Songs, comic science memes
Short bio: Medical microbiologist by profession, student of a PhD in Crop Science at the University of Padova (Italy). Juan Carlos is fascinated by microbial ecology and currently studies the microbes associated to Ambrosia Beetles. Costa Rican and stereotypically in love with nature. The author of a bunch of never published and bad poems.





Larry Aaronson

Interests: Popular fiction
Short bio: Lawrence (Larry) Aaronson is Distinguished professor of Biology and Harold T. Clark Professor of Microbiology at Utica University in Utica, NY (USA).  He earned a BS in Biological Science at Florida State University and a PhD in Microbiology at Rutgers University.  He had a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Carolyn Slayman in the Department of Genetics at the Yale University School of Medicine before joining the faculty at Utica in 1987.  Larry has been active with the American Society for Microbiology for 35 years, and served on their Committee for Undergraduate Education for 9 years.  In 2007, Larry was honored with the ASM Carski Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award.  His research interests include isolation and characterization of novel antifungal compounds, biofilm formation and melanogenesis in a novel Pseudomonas species, and induction of sliding motility in Bacillus cereus.




Leonid Digel

Interests: Literature
Short bio: Leonid is a PhD fellow at the Center for Electromicrobiology of Aarhus University (Danemark). He is currently working with filamentous cable bacteria that transfer electrons over centimeter distances in aquatic sediments. Leonid’s research interests are centered around microbiology, spanning from studies of microbial processes within complex natural communities to highly controlled biotechnological applications.




Maria João Azevedo

Interests: Contemporary art, painting, literature
Short bio: Maria João Azevedo graduated in Dental Medicine at the Faculty of Dental Medicine of the University of Porto (Portugal) in 2018. Currently, she is a PhD student at the Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Her work focuses mostly on oral and gut microbiome in infancy and in cardiovascular disease.




Massimiliano Marvasi

Interests: Music (opera)
Short bio: upcoming


Morgan Feeney

Interests: Poetry, literature, contemporary art
Short bio: Morgan completed her BSc at the University of Texas at Dallas and her PhD at Harvard University (USA), and her post-doctoral work at the John Innes Centre in Norwich (England). She is currently a teaching fellow at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (Scotland).





Paloma Maria Martínez-Alesón García

Interests: Music, cinema
Short bio: Paloma Martínez-Alesón is from Madrid (Spain) where she obtained her Master in Pharmacy and her Ph.D. in Microbiology at the Complutense University of Madrid. She now teaches toxicology at the San Pablo CEU University. Her background includes mostly biotechnological and applied microbiology works, but she has also developed projects with an ecological and evolutionary point of view. She is mainly interested in aquatic ecosystems and how microalgae and bacteria can interfere in water quality.



Suni Mathew

Interests: Dance, music, photography
Short bio: Suni completed her PhD in Molecular Biology at the University of Kerala (India). Presently, she is working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Turku (Finland), exploring the factors affecting microbiome communities’






Tania Henriquez Apablaza

Interests: Video games, cinema
Short bio: Tania obtained her PhD in Chile and worked as a postdoctoral researcher in microbiology at LMU Munich (Germany). She is currently working at University of Siena (Italy).





Vaishnavi Sridhar

Interests: Architecture and design, cinema, literature
Short bio: Vaishnavi obtained an Integrated MS degree (majoring in Biology) from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali (India). Currently she is a PhD candidate in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of British Columbia (Canada). She is studying the function of a previously uncharacterized protein that is required to bridge the endoplasmic reticulum and the plasma membrane and its role in cellular lipid homeostasis. She uses the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to conduct these studies.




Wojciech Smułek

Interests: Cinema, literature
Short bio: Wojciech is doctor of chemical sciences, scientist and university lecturer associated with the Poznan University of Technology (Poland). He is fascinated by issues related to the use of natural surfactants and the interaction of chemical compounds with microorganism cells. Full member of the Polish Chemical Society and the Polish Society of Microbiologists. In 2022 a postdoc at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark).


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