For those curious to see how a healthy cell repairs DNA, you don't need to dust off your old microscope. Look instead to the ceiling of the Basser Research Center for BRCA at the University of Pennsylvania, where they have turned the process into a more than 900-pound illuminated hanging sculpture named “Homologous Hope.”
You might say they literally shed light on three stages of the cell-repair process, using more than 600 programmable purple and green LED lights to show how BRCA2—a human gene that produces the tumor-suppressing proteins that help repair damaged DNA—works.
The sculpture uses a ribbon-diagram formation to illustrate how a healthy cell repairs the DNA that causes breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. “It looks like a soft cloud at sunrise,” said the artist, Mara Haseltine, describing the piece. UPenn scientists worked together with Haseltine to create a sign of hope using science as a base. The sculpture was unveiled last week.