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November 23, 2005: Student scientists create living bacterial photographs

Using Petri dishes full of genetically engineered E. coli instead of photo paper, students at The University of Texas at Austin and UCSF successfully created the first-ever bacterial photographs. Their work is published in this week’s issue of Nature (Nov. 24, 2005), which is focused on the emerging field of synthetic biology.

Jeff Tabor holds a bacteria-produced photo of an enlarged E. coli bacterium CAPTION
University of Texas at Austin molecular biology doctoral student Jeff Tabor holds a bacteria-produced photo of an enlarged E. coli bacterium—a “self portrait.”

CREDIT
Photo: Marsha Miller/The University of Texas at Austin
The left panel shows the projected image of Dr. Andrew Ellington and the right panel shows the resulting image recorded on the lawn of bacteria CAPTION
Escherichia Ellington, an example of bacterial portraiture. The left panel shows the projected image of Dr. Andrew Ellington and the right panel shows the resulting image recorded on the lawn of bacteria.

CREDIT
Photo: Aaron Chevalier and Nature
Portrait of the UT Austin/UCSF Synthetic Biology team CAPTION
Portrait of the UT Austin/UCSF Synthetic Biology team. The left panel shows the projected image of the students and professors from The University of Texas at Austin and UCSF who participated in the project, and the right panel shows the resulting bacterial photo.

CREDIT
Photo: Aaron Chevalier and Nature
Hello World CAPTION
Hello World. The left panel shows two inverted versions of the same projected image and the right panel shows the resulting images created by the bacteria.

CREDIT
Photo: Aaron Chevalier and Nature
Members of The University of Texas at Austin team CAPTION
Members of The University of Texas at Austin team. Pictured here from left to right are Laura Lavery, senior in biochemistry; Jeff Tabor, doctoral student in molecular biology; Matt Levy, postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology (ICMB); Eric Davidson, graduate student in ICMB; and Aaron Chevalier, senior in physics.

CREDIT
Photo: Marsha Miller/The University of Texas at Austin
Aaron Chevalier projects an image through the bacterial camera into the incubator CAPTION
University of Texas at Austin physics undergraduate student Aaron Chevalier projects an image through the bacterial camera into the incubator.

CREDIT
Photo: Marsha Miller/The University of Texas at Austin
Aaron Chevalier puts a slide in the bacterial camera to project it onto a Petri dish full of E. coli CAPTION
University of Texas at Austin physics undergraduate student Aaron Chevalier puts a slide in the bacterial camera to project it onto a Petri dish full of E. coli.

CREDIT
Photo: Marsha Miller/The University of Texas at Austin
Laura Lavery in the lab at the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology CAPTION
Biochemistry senior Laura Lavery in the lab at the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology.


CREDIT
Photo: Marsha Miller/The University of Texas at Austin

 

 

  Updated 06 January 2006
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