Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Quick Update

Things have been quite hectic here with the middle of the quarter approaching (already? how did that happen!) and some family things going on. However, I do have two pieces of good news to share with you:

First, I am pleased to report that my review article has officially been accepted! I’ll post a link as soon as it’s on-line.

The other news is that the dermatophyte thank-you postcards have arrived from the printer. They look great, and I’ll be sending them out this week.

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Another Paper Submitted

This weekend my co-author and I sent in the final submission of our “PLoS Pearls” review article. The review is about dermatophyte virulence, and the “pearls” format encourages authors to focus on the essential questions in the field and to engage the non-specialist. I enjoy this type of writing, because I like sharing my work with a general audience. When I speak informally with friends about what I do, I often find that people have a personal connection to dermatophytes – either a friend or a family member that they know has had an experience with athlete’s foot, ringworm, or some other dermatophyte infection. ¬†I’m not surprised, since dermatophytes are predicted to infect up to 20% of the population! People in high-risk groups, such as runners and¬†professional dancers, often impress me with their knowledge of dermatophytes. It is a nice reminder that research, even at a “basic” level, is connected to people’s everyday experiences, hobbies, and professions. So, I am excited to have a review “in the works” that will be accessible to anyone with an interest in these fungi.

I am also particularly fond of the PLoS journals as a whole because they are open access. Articles are published on-line and are free to everyone. Major universities often have library systems that purchase access to nearly all the journals researchers would need. The rest of us – scientists at smaller universities, less funded institutions, or non-scientists interested in learning more about a subject – can find it difficult to get access to articles. The university that I work at currently has limited library access to microbiology journals. They can purchase individual articles, but it takes time and often I am working right up to the deadline and do not wish to wait.

Open-access journals have been a huge help, and I credit the PLoS journals for being one of the first high-quality open-access journals. Their success provided a model for others to follow suit, and I for one hope that the trend of open-access journals continues. I believe that we all benefit when knowledge is available to everyone.

The Artist Behind the Worm

Several people have told me how much they like the logo for my “Athlete’s Foot in Worms?” project. There’s something adorable and captivating about the worm in a shoe and the horrified expression it wears. The image was done by artist Katy Hargrove. My husband met her when they both worked at the game company ArenaNet, and we immediately thought of her when I needed an image for my research project. If you like her work, I encourage you to check out her website. I recently had a chance to communicate with Katy about her work:

When did you start drawing, and how did you become involved in game art?
I’ve been drawing since I was very young, three or so. As I got a bit older I really fell in love with animation and thought for the longest time I’d get into that. My interest in games came later from Earthworm Jim. It was a game that connected high quality 2D animation and a bizarre sense of humor to videogames that I hadn’t thought about before. I got very very excited about making video games after that!

What are some of your favorite things to draw?
I’ve always been big into zoology and mythology. I really enjoy drawing animals and then combining them into new things by blending structures together. There is endless fun taking abstract shapes and applying real anatomy to it. Dragons always end up being a favorite because they are so versatile and can have very elaborate, quickly changing textures.

What do you find the most challenging to draw?
I tend to not enjoy drawing buildings very much. It’s not that they are more difficult than other things, as I simply have a hard time finding the energy in a structure. I like twisting deliberate motions, which animals have lots of, and picking up on that motion helps me draw with fun energy. Buildings are much more subtle creations than animals.

Have you ever been involved in crowdfunding before?
No, though I really love the idea. Seems like a great opportunity to drum up funds for important projects that might go without otherwise.

What are some of the similarities that you see between art and science?
Art incorporates a lot of science into it. I think a good artist has a taste for understanding how things work. The way that light functions, how chemicals react, psychology, math, really anything physical and emotional in the world are important to understand. The deeper this understanding, the more armed an artist is to make a work that other people can respond to emotionally. You can’t do that very well without knowing how the properties you are trying to replicate function.

You can find Katy selling sketchbooks and prints at conventions like Sakuracon and Emerald City Comicon, or you can visit her virtually at her website:
http://tangrala.blogspot.com/