PHAGE Experiments

Mellissa and microbiologist Dr Alex Betts started their collaborative work in January 2017 during the BBC project #microbialmichael. They are currently developing a new piece of work using bacteria and phages and recently experimented with moulds in agar of Mellissa's body to begin a new line of work surrounding visualising viruses and the phage bacteria. This work is Arts Council funded and continues over the next year. This project is also combining visualising immune systems with Dr Sheena Cruickshank and a continuing collaboration with Professor Mark Clements exploring the invisible work of the human body as well as the invisible world of viruses and immune systems.

Experiments from #microbialmichael with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria and a bandage soaked with phage

Mellissa and Alex have been experimenting further with phage to continue this collaboration, below are experiments conducted at Oxford University in October 2017.

“We prepared several litres of LB agar (a bacterial growth medium originally developed to work with bacteria and phages) and poured the molten agar into the moulds prepared previously by Mellissa. Once set, the sculptures were inoculated with bacteria, specifically Pseudomonas aeruginosa (a leading cause of Pneumonia in hospitals). We also added some phage (viral parasites that kill bacteria) which had been obtained from as pharmacy in Tbilisi (Georgia) as part of a therapeutic to treat infection. The bacteria have the handy property of fluorescence in UV light that allows a clear visualisation of bacterial growth. After incubating the sculptures at body temperature overnight we illuminated them to see the results.”