Stefano Mandija participated in the contest ‘I Art my Science’, which aims to capture the identity of the Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS) of Utrecht University and to showcase its diversity to the public through visual art.
The virtual exhibition featuring 15 select pieces from 11 artists from different domains of the Graduate School of Life Sciences can be visited at Hyperlink.
Stefano’s thesis cover is one of these. In his work entitled ‘cooking ingredients of brain conductivity’, Stefano shows how tissue electrical conductivity maps obtained from MRI measurements can be used as a biomarker for brain cancer. In this work, the conductivity of brain tissue is characterized by the mixture of two ingredients: water and salt. Stefano is inspired by the way the body regulates these ingredients perfectly and emphasizes the importance of the balance between water and salt for our well-being. He compares a healthy balanced body to a perfect dish where all the ingredients are present in a delicate equilibrium just like a healthy body maintains an intricate balance between all its tissue components. Like an altered concentration of ingredients would lead to an unbalanced taste in a dish, an excessive presence of salt in tissues leading to increased conductivity values would indicate the presence of pathologies, e.g. tumors. In this artwork, this effect is carefully depicted by a red spot where grains of salt meet the brain, indicating high conductivity as observed in tumors.