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Art of Research 2015

Our inaugural 2015 research photo contest, Art of Research, was a great success! We received over 50 high-quality entries spanning the disciplines from students, faculty and staff. Prizes were awarded in the following amounts: First Prize – $300, Second Prize – $200, Third Prize – $100, Honourable Mention – $50. All winning and shortlisted images will be featured in the next issue of (e)AFFECT.

Thank you to all of the budding photographers who submitted images which were creative, thought-provoking, and proved that research is an artistic endeavour!

Highlighted below are the contest winners and shortlisted images. Click on any image to view a larger version. Please contact the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) at research@queensu.ca if you have any questions.

First Prize

Perfusion of Light

Perfusion of Light by Raymond Sturgeon

Raymond Sturgeon
PhD Student, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences

Location: Botterell Hall

This perfusion array allows quick changing of solutions. Solutions with different drugs are applied while recording the bioelectrical activity of nerve cells. The handmade array, roughly the size of a matchbook and very fragile, is essential for determining drug effectiveness at the level of a single protein’s function. I used a dual-light source to construct it using fine tubing, super-glue, wax, and half-millimeter glass barrels.

Second Prize

Santa Fina

Santa Fina by Una Roman D'Elia

Dr. Una. Roman D’Elia
Faculty Member in Department of Art History

Location: Musei Civici, San Gimignano, Italy

Pietro Torrigiani, a competitor of Michelangelo, carved this bust of a saint out of marble and then painted it so that blood seems to run in this determined young girl's veins. This lively piece, made over five hundred years ago, is an example of the kind of naturalistic sculptures that have been little studied, as most scholars focus on monochrome "high art" statuary. The sculptures I am studying were not confined to museums, but were a part of the social lives of Italian men and women, who talked to, touched, kissed, worshipped, attacked, and dressed sometimes uncannily realistic colored sculptures.

Third Prize

Gemini Mirror Reflections

Gemini Mirror Reflections by Stéphane Courteau

Dr. Stéphane Courteau
Faculty Member in Astrophysics in Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Location: Mauna Kea, Hawaii

The Gemini telescope and dome are ablaze in the setting sun's golden light. The reflections on the 8-m monolithic primary mirror are especially intricate and distorted. The shadow of the extinct 4200m Mauna Kea volcano can also be seen in the background upon a sea of clouds over the city of Hilo. The vertical shutters around the dome are usually opened at sunset to ensure that the inside and outside temperatures are the same throughout the night for greater image stability. Professor Courteau has made extensive use of this telescope, and its twin in Chile, since his arrival at Queen's in 2004.

Honourable Mention

In Search of Byzantium

In Search of Byzantium by Theodore Christou

Dr. Theodore Christou
Faculty Member in Faculty of Education (Cross-Appointment, History)

Location: Simonopetra Monastery, Mount Athos

As an educational historian, my search for Byzantium (330-1453) led me to the remote monastic communities of Mount Athos. Since the 9th century, 20 Orthodox Christian communities have developed and currently reside there. These monasteries have preserved libraries, with holdings between 15,000 and 60,000 monographs. While access to Athos is highly restricted, typically to four days, I spent 12 days here working in five monastic libraries. I held and photographed several dozen texts that were otherwise ‘lost to the world’, and I lived the monastic life throughout my time spent there. Here is the monastery of Simonopetra. The library is in the lower level, near the promontory’s edge.

Shortlisted Images

At a Snail’s Pace

At a Snail's Pace by Alamjeet Kaur Chauhan

Alamjeet Kaur Chauhan
Master’s Student of Experimental Medicine in Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences

Location: Botterell Hall

This is a picture of the sea snail, Aplysia californica or California sea hare, which is widely used to examine how the activity of nerve cells evokes fundamental behaviours. I study how cation channels, which are specialized proteins that form pores allowing charged molecules in and out of the nerve cell, influence cellular activity. I use electrophysiology and molecular biology to study the reproductive behavior of Aplysia. My research is focused on studying the effects of reactive oxygen species on cation channels, which dictate reproduction in bag cell neurons of the snail.

The Last Tree

The Last Tree by Courtenay Jacklin

Courtenay Jacklin
Student Workplace Experience Program; Department of Geography

Location: Southwest Yukon

CCNF15: Clear Creek North Forest #15, otherwise known as the last tree. After three summers of field work and countless hours spent hiking to various study sites situated in the Kluane Region of the Yukon, Katherine finally takes the last tree core she will need to complete her project analyzing alpine vegetation dynamics. Using an increment borer to drill a small hole near the base of each tree, Katherine extracts a core which we store inside straws until returning to the lab. The annual growth rings along each core can be measured to gather information on growth and climate.

Buried Alive

Buried Alive by Melanie Jansen

Melanie Jansen
Master’s of Environmental Studies Student

Location: Impala Platinum Mine, Shaft #14, Rustenburg, South Africa

This photo was taken during my fieldwork, 2.5km underground in a platinum mine owned by Impala Platinum in Rustenburg, South Africa. Rather than a unique depiction, this photo is representative of the industry as a whole. It demonstrates the harsh realities mine workers face, subject to social, environmental and economic challenges. Day-shift workers may spend up to six months at a time without ever seeing sunlight, their lives literally passing them by. Few opportunities exist for these men and women to break free of the dark, unforgiving platinum industry. The “X” is symbolic of this eventual cause of death, either directly or indirectly.

Leaving home

Leaving Home by Eric Y Lian

Eric Y Lian
PhD Student in Cancer Research; Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine

Location: A microscope slide

My focus is cancer cell invasion and migration. This spheroid of cells is embedded in a 3D protein matrix and fluorescently stained for 3 proteins. Individual cells can be seen radiating away on all sides. The cells use integrin (red) and actin (green) to pull on the protein matrix and move, while cadherin (blue), binds and holds cells together within the spheroid. Cadherin normally holds clumps of cells together and allows them to form structures such as tissues and organs. This picture shows how invading cells lose their cadherin and express large amounts of integrin and actin, and it demonstrates some of the protein expression changes that cancer cells undergo which allow them to invade away from a tumour.

Borders. What borders?

Borders. What Border? by John McGarry

Dr. John McGarry
Faculty Member in the Department of Political Studies

Location: Apostolos Andreas Monastery, North-east Cyprus

The iconic Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, once remarked that “the only thing Cypriot is the donkey”. He wanted to underline that Cyprus was permanently divided between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. He was wrong of course, as this photo from Cyprus’s Apostolos Andreas Monastery shows. There are also ‘lots’ of Cypriot cats who can wander freely between the Turkish and Greek zones in spite of the barbed wire and thousands of armed soldiers. These are “vanguard felines”. My work on power-sharing in Cyprus is aimed at helping their two-legged counterparts to follow in their wake.

Coded, I Am

Coded, I Am by Stéfy McKnight

Stéfy McKnight
Master’s Student in the Cultural Studies Program

Location: Kingston, Ontario

"Coded, I Am" is part of a larger research creation project that looks at preemptive surveillance strategies in North America. It is a self-portrait of an artist immersed in tattoo QR codes. The QR codes – when scanned – direct the viewer to Google Earth images of CSIS and NSA intelligence sites. The photograph not only shows an artist absorbed by her research, but it is a representation of how users rely on third party sites such as Google Earth in their everyday lives, regardless of the risk of data mining and surveillance. The codes shift the surveillance gaze by giving viewers the tools to look at the institutions that are normally doing the ‘surveilling’.