BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The summer MDI Science Café series will kick off June 26 with a talk on the interface between art and science by Cheryl M. Coffin, M.D., of Surry, Maine, an artist and professor emerita of pathology, microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Coffin’s talk, entitled “The Meeting of Art and Science: A Pathologist’s View,” will be held at 5 p.m. at the Maine Center for Biomedical Innovation on the campus of the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor. The talk is the first of a series of six science cafés that will be held at the institution through mid-September.
Coffin, who says she strongly believes that what she has learned from looking at and creating art has made her a better pathologist, will discuss how art and pathology share similar, complementary processes of observation, cognition, practice and intuition. The intuitive hunch that “something is important” is shared by both disciplines, she notes.
“Although the tools are different, the back and forth processes have much in common,” she says. “Both the artist’s and the pathologist’s points of view are important. Understanding these better can help us teach and learn.”
Coffin’s talk is being held in anticipation of the opening of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s sixth annual Art Meets Science exhibit, which go on display at the Maine Center for Biomedical Innovation on July 5. Coffin is one of four MDI Biological Laboratory artists-in-residence whose work will be included in the exhibit.
The 2017 Art Meets Science exhibit will focus on the process of creation: how artists and scientists are inspired by their interactions with one another. The documentation of this process — through artistic journals, laboratory notebooks, sketches and photographs — will be a highlight of the exhibit.
Coffin has spent many years at the intersection of the worlds of art and science. During her medical career, she found that studio art tapped into a “common zone of creativity” that informed her writing and research. She believes her diagnostic skills have also been fostered by her interest in art history.
Her artwork is inspired by landscape and seascape, aerial topographic views and macroscopic and microscopic cellular images. She says she is interested in what happens in the processes of seeing, thinking and visual problem-solving.
MDI Science Cafés are offered in fulfillment of the MDI Biological Laboratory’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.
MDI Science Cafés are sponsored by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust and Cross Insurance. Refreshments will be served. For more information on the summer MDI Science Café series or for updates on the 2017 Art Meets Science exhibit, please visit mdibl.org/events/ or call 207-288-3147.
About the MDI Biological Laboratory
Our scientists are pioneering new approaches to regenerative medicine focused on drugs that activate our natural ability to heal, and that slow age-related degenerative changes. Our unique approach has identified new drugs with the potential to treat major diseases, demonstrating that regeneration could be as simple as taking a pill. As innovators and entrepreneurs, we also teach what we know. Our Maine Center for Biomedical Innovation prepares students for 21st century careers and equips entrepreneurs with the skills and resources to turn great ideas into successful products. For more information, please visit mdibl.org.