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Microbial masterpieces win ASM Agar Art Contest

agar art butterfly
10-year-old Kate Lin's "The Magnificent Butterfly," which she created using bacteria that have been genetically engineered to glow.
Agar art bee
Science teacher Allison Granberry’s “A Bumble Bee, Bacteria, and Mold: Could this be art in the making?”
Science and art collided in a happy way at the Saturday DNA! Agar Art workshop at CSHL’s DNA Learning Center. Students as young as 10 learned about how laboratory techniques that scientists commonly use to study the living world can also be used to create unique works of art.

Using glowing bacteria as their “paint,” participants made masterpieces within Petri dishes, and submitted their work to the 2018 American Society for Microbiology Agar Art Contest. The winners were announced on May 23, and included two pieces created at the DNA Learning Center.

The 1st place winner in the Agar Art Kids segment of the contest was 10-year-old Kate Lin’s piece “The Magnificent Butterfly.” Kate is currently in the 5th grade at South Grove Elementary School in Syosset, New York. In the Agar Art Makers segment of the contest, science teacher Allison Granberry of Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science in the Bronx, New York earned 3rd place for her piece, “A Bumble Bee, Bacteria, and Mold: Could this be art in the making?”

Written by: Andrea Alfano, Content Developer/Communicator | | 516-367-8455

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About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit