BIO/TRM 400/600

Instructors:Boryana Rossa Ph.D. and Heidi Hehnly Ph.D.

Course Description:

This course is a studio and history class, which brings together transmedia, art, and biology students, offering an overlap of disciplines with hands-on study of digital imaging technologies, microscopy, biological drawing, and also lecturing on the relatively new field of bio-art.

Additional Course Description:

Students will learn microscopy and incorporate their acquisitions into visually interesting interpretations and presentations. Biology and transmedia students will also use traditional and digital drawing techniques to provide another tool for scientific analysis of microscopic imaging and create cross-disciplinary representations of scientific research applying perspectives from arts and humanities. Bringing these two very different fields together has also the aim of incorporating discussions between the sciences and humanities. The work produced in the class will be displayed on campus in galleries within the halls of LSC and the Shaffer building. There will be a presentation component in the class, through which students will learn how to present their research cross-disciplinary and before a mixed audience.

Audience: Undergraduate / Graduate students in Transmedia and Biology

Credits: 3

Learning Objectives:

After taking this course students will be able to:

– Use basic microscopy techniques for image production

– Use traditional and digital drawing techniques for biological drawing from microscopic slides

– Biology students will be able to use basic image handling, photoshop and illustrator skills, and video editing

– Biology students will be able to present their research for a broader audience engaging with terminology from humanities and the arts

– Transmedia students will be able to situate their research in the broader field of art/science and technology intersection in a direct dialogue with scientists.

Bibliography/ Texts/ Supplies : You will be given a few reading assignments on relevant topics. These readings provide conceptual tools and a shared vocabulary for thinking about the works we discuss in class, as well as your own work.

Course Requirements and Expectations: Complete all assignments on time, participate actively in discussions, and participate in group work. No extra credits are allowed.


– You will have three studio assignments with a slightly different focus for Transmedia and biology students: 1. Make a series of five drawings from microscopic images. Drawings will be started in class and will be supervised by the instructor. Variations of the same slides should be made at home, using a variety of media: pencil, colored pencil, watercolor, and tablet.

– Biology students – bring images related to your research

– Transmedia students – find microscopic images online or work with a biology student to find an image of your interest

2. Produce microscopic images (Workshop with Dr. Heidi Hehnly). Microscopy images post-production

3. Produce a presentation of biological research that incorporates questions from humanities and representational techniques from the arts. Work in groups, which will include both Transmedia and Biology students. This assignment can be a project proposal for a bio-art work. You have to clearly credit the specific work made by each of you, this is how I would know how you contributed to the project individually. Each of you will also be making an individual presentation of your work within the group project.

4. Historical research: During class, there will be several lectures about bio-art. You will be asked to write a reaction paper or to find an art piece in the field and present it in class.


10% class participation (participation in critique and attendance and short responses to readings) 60% 3 studio assignments 30% Presentations/reaction papersGrading: 10% class participation (participation in critique and attendance and short responses to readings) 60% 3 studio assignments 30% Presentations/reaction papers.