Art of Science & Engineering Competition

The department encourages our students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and staff to share the beauty of science to the broader campus community through their submissions of original artwork, images, and photographs that highlight the artistic quality of their scientific materials, processes, instruments, findings or data. Selected artworks are featured in a display in the Powel-Focht Bioengineering Hall.

About the Competition

The Chien-Lay Department of Bioengineering "Art in Science & Engineering" competition was established in March 2024 .  Submissions are solicited during the spring quarter of the academic year. The department's Faculty Awards Committee adjudicates the competition.


  1. The competition is open to all current students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, staff, and other professionals. 
  2. Artwork must be original, represent a scientific and/or engineering concept or pertain to scientific materials, processes, instruments, findings or data. 
  3. Artwork must be in the format of a 300 DPI image not to exceed 10Mb in size. 
  4. No audio files will be accepted.
  5. Those submissions selected as competition winners must sign a release agreement for use of image in future public postings on the department's website, social media channels, print materials, and other communication means as it sees fit.


2024 Selected Works


Tom Molley, Ph.D.

Postdoctural Fellow | Engler Lab

Building Hearts from the Ground Up

A key challenge for biologists and biomedical engineers is the creation of artificial models of cells that replicate the native tissues of the body. We aim to generate cardiac organoids, aka miniature hearts, by using mechanical and geometric cues to guide stem cell (PSC) differentiation. Here, we have confined PSCs into a heart shape and began differentiating them towards a cardiac lineage for two days. Blue is cell nuclei, green is OCT4 (pluripotency marker), yellow is SOX2 (pluripotency marker), and red is T brachyury (mesoderm marker). Ultimately, our goal is to use these models to better understand genetic disorders to develop better treatments for heart failure.



Kian Kalhor

Graduate Student | Zhang Lab

Renal symphony: the four movements

This is an image of a mouse kidney. There are about 1.8 million colored dots in this image, each of which is an mRNA molecule measured by DART-FISH, a highly multiplexed in situ RNA detection method developed in Dr. Kun Zhang's lab. Six of the plotted genes are markers for nephron segments and collectively specify the four histological layers of the kidney. Glomerular genes Nphs2 and Podxl (cyan) and distal convoluted tubule gene Slc12a3 (light green) are expressed in the cortex. Proximal tubules expressing Lrp2 (blue) start from the cortex and descend to the outer stripe of outer medulla. Thick ascending limb cells with gene Slc12a1 (magenta) have the strongest presence in the inner stripe of outer medulla. And finally, collecting ducts expressing Aqp2comprise the majority of inner medulla. Myh11 (gold) marking smooth muscle cells can be found across these layers.