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A scientist trapped in an artist's body

Ahna Skop masterfully balances research and creativity

Margaret Guthrie
"Look at all these white walls with nothing on them," cell biologist linkurl:Ahna Skop;http://www.genetics.wisc.edu/faculty/profile.php?id=160 says with a sweeping gesture as she leads the way to one of the lobbies in the BioGenetics building on the University of Wisconsin, Madison campus. Clearly she regards empty white walls as opportunities. We are on our way to see an installation of cell-based art hanging very near linkurl:her lab;http://skoplab.weebly.com/ in the institution. Skop studies linkurl:cytokinesis;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/21188/ and cell cycle linkurl:proteomics,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/52886/ and composes striking micrographs of her research subjects. linkurl:Migrating chromosomes;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/14831/ and linkurl:worm gonads;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22792/ become works of art in Skop's hands. "I am dyslexic, I learn better visually so it's really natural that I would notice the beauty in what I am studying," Skop says.In some ways, Skop's predisposition to aestheticism is unsurprising. She spent her childhood immersed in art. Her father is an internationally known ceramicist, who conducted an art school in their home. Her...

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