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Fall 2012

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Art of Science

“Study the science of art and the art of science.”Leonardo da Vinci

As if pulled from the walls of a modern art gallery, these images of research exploration cross the boundaries of science to enter the realm of abstract art. Parallels exist between these two domains: The artist seeks to visually express complex ideas or emotions, while the researcher wants to convey often intangible concepts that may be impossible to fathom without visual representation. These extraordinary images curated by our editors from research activities across UB are based solely in science. Yet they have crossed an imaginary barrier to become a true art form.

main image for Behling Profile Into the Void As part of the National Science Foundation-sponsored “URGE (Undergraduate Research Group Experiences) to Compute” program, UB computational scientist Loren “Shawn” Matott has been collaborating with talented math majors at UB and Buffalo State College to design cost-effective systems to safeguard groundwater supplies from contaminated sites. The image visualizes a representative cost surface and dramatically illustrates the phenomena of artificial minima—valley locations corresponding to designs whose costs are only partially optimal. The image recently won a computer art competition run by the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation and will appear on the cover of the organization’s 2013 brochure. The winning entry was prepared in collaboration with Adrian Levesque and Martins Innus, multimedia visualization specialists at UB’s Center for Computational Research. Loren “Shawn” Matott, PhD ’07 & PMCRT ’07, IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education Research and Traineeship) Fellow
Epicenter Epicenter This is a vertical satellite image of Tungurahua Volcano in Ecuador. It contrasts areas of natural vegetation (green) with regions devastated by volcanic ash (dark blue to black). The red hot lava filling the crater and the active white volcanic plume are clearly visible. North is oriented to the right, as is the community of Banos (20,000 inhabitants). Michael Sheridan, UB Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Geology
Blue Moons Blue Moons This is a sample of a rodent inner ear or cochlea stained with three fluorescent dyes, which are specific for actin filaments (green), nuclei (blue) and caspase (red). Actin filaments are part of the cytoskeleton found in all cells. In the cochlea they form an integral part of the structure of the so-called hair cells. There are three rows of “outer” and one row of “inner” cells. These cells directly transduce the acoustic vibrations collected by the ear and convert them into electrical signals, which are transmitted by the auditory nerve to the brain. The image was collected on the confocal microscope and demonstrates the dramatic difference in image quality obtained when the confocal microscope is used compared to a standard system. Richard Salvi, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences
Convergence Convergence This image shows microscopic gold electrodes that contact a thin sheet of graphene. Graphene has recently been shown to be a promising candidate to replace the silicon chips that power current electronic technology. The gold electrodes in the images allow an electrical current to be passed through the graphene sheet. They are separated by only a few hundred nanometers at their closest points. Girish Bohra, electrical engineering student; and Ratchanok Somphonsane, physics student
Jellyfish Jellyfish Pictured is an optical micrograph of cultured cells 24 hours after initiation of apoptosis, a process of self-initiated cell death that is critically important for physiological regulation and elimination of genetic disorders. Image represents a unique combination of label-free imaging of molecular vibrations by Coherent anti-Stokes Raman Scattering and high resolution fluorescence imaging by Two-Photon Excited Fluorescence. Subcellular distribution of the major classes of biomolecules such as proteins (red), RNA (green), DNA (blue) and lipids (grey) during apoptosis was revealed by a single shot of the nonlinear microscopy laser scan. Here, proteins abandon the nucleolus, accumulating in a highly irregular distribution in the nucleoplasm; genomic DNA condenses and partially segregates from the proteins. Artem Pliss, research assistant professor, Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics; Andrey N. Kuzmin, research scientist, Department of Chemistry; Aliaksandr V. Kachynski, research associate professor, Department of Chemistry; and Paras N. Prasad, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the chemistry, physics, medicine and electrical engineering departments
Unraveled Unraveled The image shows the failure of Single Walled Carbon Nano Tube (SWCNT) under uniaxial extension. SWCNT is a one-atom thick tube made up of carbon atoms. The project is exploring how to replace metals in electronics with SWCNT, because these new materials are much stronger and better conductors than are traditional metals. Cemal Basaran, professor in the departments of civil, structural and environmental engineering, and electrical engineering and director of the Electronic Packaging Laboratory; and Tarek Ragab, assistant director, Electronic Packaging Laboratory, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering
Yellow Ground Yellow Ground Transmission electron micrograph shows lead sulfide (PbS) nanocubes grown around gold nanoparticles. The overall cubic shape reflects the underlying cubic crystal structure of lead sulfide. These were created as part of a study of methods of creating multicomponent and anisotropic (non-spherical) nanostructures. Ken-Tye Yong, PhD ’06, ME ’04 & BS ’01, research associate professor, Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics
Blue Orbit Blue Orbit Spheres in this image are made of many nanocrystals of zinc sulfide, and are from 20 to 200 nanometers in diameter. Zinc sulfide has potential as a photocatalyst for degrading pollutants or generating hydrogen from water using energy from sunlight. The very small size of the particles means that they have a very large surface area for the desired chemical reactions to occur. Sha Liu, PhD ’11, Department of Chemical Engineering
Springtime Springtime A thin histological section of tissue from the tongue of a mouse: The section is stained with three fluorescent dyes that are specific for actin filaments (green), nuclei (blue) and wheat germ agglutinin (red). The red fluorescence represents the cell surfaces; the green, the internal structure and blue, the cell nucleus. This image was collected on a standard fluorescence microscope. Wade J. Sigurdson, director, Confocal Microscope and Flow Cytometry Facility
Deconstruction Deconstruction As it moves around an indoor corridor, a mobile robot with a range sensor simultaneously calculates its position and updates an internal model of its surroundings. Juxtaposition of two versions of the model are rendered—a more concise representation on the left side and the full volumetric model on the right side. Julian Ryde, research scientist, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Alien Exo Alien Exo This image from a scanning electron microscope shows the structure of a freeze-dried antibiotic (Vancomycin). The material is exceptionally difficult to image because of its extreme fragility and tendency to absorb water. This image represents one of the ways UB supports the health science industry. Image provided by Peter Bush, director, UB South Campus Instrument Center with permission of IMA Life, Tonawanda, N.Y.
Fireworks Fireworks The human brain contains an abundant population of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells with a unique capacity to repair damaged and diseased brain tissue following demyelinating diseases like MS and childhood leukodystrophy. Here are human CD140a-sorted cells transplanted into a mouse model of leukodystrophy, which lacks any normal myelin, the electrical insulating substance in the brain. Human cells, in blue, have begun to repair the diseased mouse brain and are generating new myelin (red). Human cells also reconsitute astrocytes (green). Fraser Sim, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, along with scientists at the University of Rochester
Dot to Dot Dot to Dot Image shows zinc oxide nanowires grown on a silicon substrate using a chemical vapor deposition technique. Gold nanoparticles are used as catalysts for nanowire growth. The green dots are gold nanoparticles on the silicon substrate, the blue bunches are zinc oxide nanowires, and the yellow dots are gold nanoparticles on the tips of the nanowires. Zinc oxide nanowires may have broad applications ranging from sensors to LEDs and solar cells. Seongjin Jang, PhD ’08, Department of Physics
Into the Deep Into the Deep These nanoelectronic switches have been proposed for use in future “quantum computers,” which would have greatly improved computing capabilities compared to existing computers. Arunkumar Ramamoorthy, PhD student, Department of Electrical Engineering, when image created

UB in the News

Fox News reports on UB research using nanoballoons and lasers to deliver anti-cancer medication

4/11/2014 The medications are deliverd straight to the tumor itself.

TIME Magazine reports on UB study about a new way to get college students to reconsider binge drinking

4/11/2014 Talking about the link between alcohol and cancer may work as a deterrent.

Forbes reports on UB research about the dangers of texting while walking

4/11/2014 UB professor of emergency medicine says putting your cell phone down when walking may save lives.

More of UB in the News