Ahna R. Skop, Ph.D. describes herself as a scientist by day and an artist by night. In her scientific life, she is an associate professor in the Department of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studies cell division in the roundworm, C. elegans. In her artistic life, she is “an avid foodie, baker and cook.”
In her talk, she will describe the interface between these worlds, which was recently symbolized on her blog site, Foodskop, by a photo of a “cell division cake,” which takes the form of a mitotic cell in the process of dividing. The cytoplasm is described as “a coffee-infused, peanut butter buttercream and ganache topped cake,” with the “DNA depicted in blue, microtubules in green and midbody proteins in red.”
Skop’s artistic side extends to more than food, however. She is the founder and curator of the popular biennial Worm Art Show, a highlight of the International C. elegans Conference that celebrated its 20th anniversary in June. As a fan of microscope images, she has also been a judge for microscope image contests, and a microscope image she took was once featured on the cover of Science magazine.
MDI Science Cafés are offered in fulfillment of the institution’s mission to promote scientific literacy and increase public engagement with science. The popular events offer a chance to hear directly from speakers about trends in science. Short presentations delivered in everyday language are followed by lively, informal discussion. The final talk in the summer series will be held Monday, Sept. 11.