Scientist-by-day and artist-by-night, I am primarily interested in therapeutic oncology. During the day, I work in a lung cancer research lab at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. During the nights, I work in visual art studios. In the lab, I focus on the details of cancer causing genes and the related signaling pathways. In the studio, I try to look at the same problem from unusual and different perspectives. For me, these two different ways of thinking generates novel project ideas. In addition, presentation of complex scientific hypothesis in aesthetic manner broadens the scope and the audience of my work (Figures 1–3).
Description of work
My current artworks take a spin on the idea of therapeutic oncology with a North East Indian (Bengali) folklore “The gold wand and the silver wand.” In this folklore, conspired by a demoness queen, after losing his family and friends, a prince visits a dangerous land. There he finds a beautiful princess imprisoned by a legion of demons. The only way to kill the demons and rescue the princess is to slice seven heads of a ferocious snake with a magical golden scythe.
Lung cancer is similar to this multi-headed snake with many cancer causing genes (oncogenes). The problem is we do not have the special golden scythe i.e., drugs to directly target these oncogenes. Interestingly, these oncogenes can alter the signaling of several biochemical pathways involved in many cellular functions. My research in the lab focusses on finding alterations in this signaling pathways and use them as druggable targets to eliminate the lung cancer cells.
I acknowledge my cancer research mentor, Dr. John Minna and my visual art tutor, Kimberley Roworth.
Conflicts of Interest: The author has no conflicts of interest to declare.