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Artistic eye for the science guy.

“It became a really transformational project,” said Sunil Malapati, Clarke assistant professor of biochemistry. “Science and art students don’t usually talk to each other.”

Malapati sought to create a joint project between art and biochemistry. Putting heads together with Louise Kames, MFA, Clarke chair and professor of art, the idea for biochemistry students to collaborate with art students was born. Malapati said being a small school helped make it happen.

Biochemistry is a strongly visual field and usually limited to paper and pen. While powerful software exists, he said it’s still hard to imagine structures in three dimensions.

Student Chemistry DrawingBecause artists work in three dimensions, he found something software can’t convey in the same way – everything from angles, lighting and that elusive “artistic eye” – showing biochemistry in a way never seen before.

“When I show the images to biochemists, they’re stunned. Most textbooks don’t have that,” he said.

The artwork was a student’s final project on display in the Clarke art gallery and will be a permanent part of Clarke’s campus. Three of the students involved went on to graduate school using the project on their resume. The works were also shown in several science conferences across the country.

Sunil Malapati

Sunil Malapati, Ph.D.

TITLE: Assistant Professor
of Chemistry
 
HOMETOWN: Hospet, India
 
FAVORITE ARTIST: Shakespeare (writer) and Spielberg (director)
 
HANDSOME-LOOKING CHEMICAL STRUCTURE: Glucose, in its infinite variations, is a marvel.

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