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Queen of Organelles - Digital Print (24 x 24 in.)
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Queen of Organelles - Digital Print (24 x 24 in.)


One of the large circular paintings (40 in. diameter) in an installation of 14 paintings and LED lights in the Quinlan Life Sciences Center at Loyola University Chicago.

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The fourth circular painting represents a eukaryotic cell and organelles contained in the cell.  Eukaryotic cells contain membrane bound compartments called organelles, each with specific functions, as opposed to prokaryotic cells that do not contain membrane bound compartments.  The entire painting is one cell.  The outermost boarder of the painting is a phospholipid bilayer containing transmembrane proteins.  The phospholipids bilayer is a selectively permeable membrane that regulates what enters and leaves the cell.  Transmembrane proteins can also regulate substances entering and leaving the cell.

There is a central female figure.  In the upper part of the female figure is a nucleus, the organelle containing the main DNA genome.  Connected to the nucleus is the endoplasmic reticulum (ER).  The ER is an organelle involved in the synthesis, modification and transport of cellular materials.  The rough ER is studded with ribosomes.  Ribosomes synthesize proteins.  Ribosomes themselves are made out of ribosomal RNA and proteins.  Below the ER are lysosomes and the Golgi apparatus.  Lysosomes are organelles with digestive enzymes that break down macromolecules.  The Golgi apparatus is an organelle that processes and packages macromolecules for cell secretion or use within the cell.  Underneath the Golgi apparatus is a chloroplast.  A chloroplast is an organelle in green algae and plants that conducts photosynthesis.  To the upper and lower left of the female figure are mitochondria, an organelle known as the “energy powerhouse of the cell.”  The background of the painting contains RNAs with secondary structure which can also represent small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA).

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