Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 9th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Painting Tears
18 October 2012

Painting Tears

Bambi losing his mother must be one of the most memorable movie moments, sending tears streaming down the face of many a viewer. Carried within these salty droplets is the anti-bacterial enzyme lysozyme. It’s also found in our saliva and in the secretions that line our stomach and nasal passages. In 1965 David C. Phillips uncovered the structure of this protein (pictured), and in doing so discovered how it manages to kill certain bacteria. The task of illustrating this enzyme’s complexity, before the days of advanced computer programmes, was left to scientific artist Irving Geis, born this day in 1908. After six months of labour, Geis produced this colourful watercolour representation of lysozyme, published in 1966 in popular science journal, Scientific American.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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