Jonas Salk and the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt

This past summer, PhD student and TAG member Jess Marcotte participated in a charity scavenger hunt—the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt (GISH)—for Random Acts of Kindness and approached the BioLab with a special request.

Jess painting Salk’s portrait by hand.

One of the scavenger hunt items was to create a bacterial culture petri dish portrait of Jonas Salk. Tweet this to Melinda Gates thanking her for her work vaccinating children. We were up to the task, of course! We decided to work with Serratia marcescens since it grows quickly and reliably—and we were on a tight deadline.

We decided to try two different methods to produce the portraits: mylar stencils and painting by hand. We were expecting the stencils to turn out crisp and clean, but were pleasantly surprised by how successful our hand-painted portraits turned out.

The two on the left were hand painted and the rest are done with stencils. Photo by Jess.

As a bonus, we decided to print our portraits onto a scarf in order to preserve them, and couldn’t help referring to it as our Jonas “Silk.”

Last night, it was announced that Jess’ team—KissAGish—was one of the runners up! We’re so happy to have played a supporting role in this task. For more information on GISH, go to their website.

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