About Lynn Fellman artist for genomics
It’s important for all of us — taxpayers and policymakers — to understand basic science concepts to guide smart strategies for health, the economy, and our environment. The problem is getting the fundamentals across in a clear and engaging way. My solution combines accurate information with poetic visualization. Combining art and story to illuminate the beauty and benefit of genomic and evolutionary science is my passion as an artist and as a responsible citizen.
To get the art and story right, I study current scientific literature, attend scientific conferences, and work with scientists to understand their work. Then write, design, and illustrate to explain what they do and why we should care.
Merci, gracias, toda raba
I’m grateful for the opportunities to work with amazing people and the universities, foundations, and institutes that support my work. As a Fulbright Senior Scholar to Israel, I collaborated with Dr. Dan Mishmar, an evolutionary geneticist at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, to develop an animated video about his research.
Another opportunity came from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent). It was a National Science Foundation think tank for innovative, cross-disciplinary, evolutionary research at Duke University. I was granted a six-month residency to develop interactive media about genomics and human evolution.
During my residency at NESCent, I was part of a working group of scientists led by Dr. Nina Jablonski and Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. Our proposal to develop curricula for students to connect their genetic ancestry with their family history received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Hurrah!
The grants led to several successful, ongoing programs: the Genetics and Geneaology curricula for undergraduate students at Spelman College and Finding Your Roots summer camp for teens at Penn State University. I designed two interactive works for the programs: a digital book for Spelman and a visualization tool for Penn State.
Artists like to talk about their materials and methods. The stuff we choose and the tools we use drive the creative process. I begin with old-school pencil and paper, ink and paint, and move to digital drawing and painting tools to shape and transform the sketches into full color.
I’m persnickety about selecting the best materials to print the finished image — archival paper for longevity and pigment inks for vibrant colors. Most of what you see on this website is available for purchase on my other website, LynnFellman.com. Please take a minute to visit.
- If you haven’t met the original Neanderthal, so named from a fossil skull discovered in the Neander Valley, Germany in 1856 — take a look. Are we related? Maybe cousins? See for yourself. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has a close-up view of the 40,000-year-old fossil here.
- molecular anthropologists (here). “Becoming Sapiens,” (here)
- Genographic Project (here)
- Congratulations, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), on the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Human Genome Project. The first grants were awarded in the Fall of 1990, for the development of the technology and resources to map small organisms and eventually, the human genome. Watch 2-minute video testimonials from some of the leaders recalling the early days of the project. (here)
- What happens next? Thirty years on, we are only beginning to understand our complex biology. The NHGRI has a “vision for genomics aimed at accelerating scientific and medical breakthroughs”. (here)
- What is a haplogroup? The Genographic Project was one of the first and most unique of the direct-to-consumer DNA companies. It was an interdisciplinary, world-wide project — part genetic and anthropological research, and part public participation. The DNA collected from people around the world revealed never-seen-before patterns of human migration. The patterns are made up of mutations that accumulate over time, dating the stages of a journey and forming a migration path, called a haplogroup.