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Image of the Week: Rupture of the liver cell

13 Jun, 2014

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This unusual image is part of the Parasite Project by final year London College of Fashion student, Katie May Boyd. Katie May is the artist in residence at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology at the University of Glasgow and has designed a series of costumes inspired by research at the centre into the life cycle of the malaria parasite.

This costume, Rupture of the Liver Cell, represents the rupture of parasite-filled liver cells, an event which takes the body from the ‘silent stage’ of malaria infection to the start of feverish flu-like symptoms. During the performance, the dress starts as a ball shape and ruptures merozoites (the parasites), which are represented by the smaller red balls.

Other features include the rag-rug surface of the costume which represents a liver cell, where after 1 week each parasite has replicated itself up to 40,000 times. The spiralling red fabric and movement of the stretch suit depicts the multiplying merozoites travelling around the blood stream.

“The costumes were developed with teaching in mind, being able to visually echo on a huge scale the beautiful but terrible processes that go on microscopically inside our bodies,” says Katie May. Many different fabrics and techniques were used to achieve wearable representations of these moments, creating a visual and tactile method of learning.”

The Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology (WTCMP) is a research Centre aiming to make a large impact on parasitic diseases by gaining understanding of basic processes in parasites and exploiting them to develop new approaches to disease control.

Katie May is exhibiting her work on Science Sunday at the Glasgow Science Festival on Sunday 15th June.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 20 Jun, 2014 12:56 pm

    Picture credits to Diana De Leon –

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