The University Record, April 2, 2001

Life Sciences Institute: Events surrounding kickoff feature blend of art and science

By Colleen Newvine
News and Information Services

George Gessert’s ‘Natural Selection’ from the ‘Paradise Now: Picturing the Genetic Revolution’ exhibition at the Museum of Art. Photo courtesy Museum of Art
Some endeavors, such as medicine and clinical research, are described as combining art and science, meaning they bring facts and figures as well as the intuitive and emotional interpretation of them.

The April 11 kickoff of construction at the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) melds art and science in a number of ways.

Those attending the 10 a.m. official ceremony at Rackham Auditorium will see the work of 21 Ypsilanti High School students who, under the direction of teacher Robin Evans, are creating a series of 40-by-44-inch images using house paint on sheets of aluminum.

Students researched the life sciences and painted panels with the theme “What Life Science Will Look Like in the Future,” and their work will decorate the fence around the institute construction site. The institute is slated for completion in 2003, and it will serve as a hub for cross-disciplinary research and teaching in the life sciences.

In the evening, attendees will have the opportunity to view the exhibition “Paradise Now: Picturing the Genetic Revolution” at the Museum of Art before a panel discussion on art, ethics and genetics, which will be moderated by President Lee C. Bollinger.

Panelists include Carole Kismaric and Marvin Heiferman, partners in the New York-based company Lookout and independent curators of the exhibition; Peter Ubel, associate professor of internal medicine; and Elizabeth Petty, associate professor of internal medicine and of human genetics. The discussion will be held 5–7 p.m.

A trio from the Life Sciences Orchestra, an ensemble composed of faculty, students and staff, will perform at the kickoff ceremony.

The Life Sciences Institute is part of the Life Sciences Initiative, launched in 1999 as a campuswide effort to coordinate and expand research and teaching in such rapidly advancing fields as genomics, chemical and structural biology, cognitive neuroscience, and bioinformatics.