The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


24 Oct 2019

Pretty Little Things public art installation

If you’ve walked down Grattan Street next to the Doherty Institute in the past few months you would be familiar with the incredible art hanging on the temporary walls surrounding the Metro Tunnel construction site.


Pretty Little Things is a collaboration between the Metro Tunnel Creative Program and the University of Melbourne showcasing the intricate and delicate beauty behind the microscope, accessible through the researchers’ lens but rarely visible to the general public.

Doherty Institute researcher officer Dr Sapna Devi, PhD students Julio Carrera and Joshua Deerain all have their images on display the Doherty Institute side of the public art installation.

“My project involves looking at the immune system using advances microscopy systems so I see how these cells move around the body in real time,” Dr Devi said.

“The name of my work is the Stromal Network, these are cells that are important at maintaining the structure of lymphoid organs such as the spleen and the lymph nodes.”

Julio’s image shows the Kunjin virus (KUNV) non-structural protein NS1 in green in Vero cells 72 hours post infection.

KUNV is a subtype of West Nile Virus endemic to Oceania.

“I called the image "Greender", a fusion of the words green and grinder, because the original image is green, and it looks like it is spinning and grinding something, with sparks coming off,” he explained.

Josh’s piece ‘Kangaroo’ is a fluorescent microscopy image of an intestinal organoid infected with murine norovirus. Organoids are “mini guts” - 3D tissue cultures derived from adult stem cells found in the gut. It also just happens to look like a kangaroo!

The artwork was designed by The Cutaway, an award-winning design studio that creates visual stories in build environments.

The Cutaway reinterpreted the research imagery submitted, rending them in modern abstract patterns and a vibrant red and pink colour palette.

Pretty Little Things will remain installed at Parkville until the end of 2019.