“Abyss”

Here’s my most recent creation – “Abyss”.  It is my first attempt at making an abstract piece while remaining true to the science behind it.

Based on a recent article about a potential amoeba outbreak after Hurricane Irma, this image depicts human nerve cells being ingested by the amoeba.  Such an infection can lead to swift death.

Some of you might remember the term “amoeba” from your high school biology class.  It is one of the two most primitive single cell eukaryote organisms typically shown to students in school (the other one is paramecium).  Amoebas love to live in warm, stagnant water  such as the kind left after a hurricane.

Despite its simple structure, amoeba can be deadly.  While it usually feeds on bacteria, amoeba can invade the human body when contaminated water enters the nose.  From the nasal passage it climbs up the olfactory nerve and begins to feast on brain tissue.  Death occurs within a week from infection, and only a handful of people have been reported to recover.

amoeba-625x350
Amoeba – Image source

The following image shows how amoeba (labeled in green) begin ingesting human cells (pink).  Here the process is observed from the side.

sn-amoebae
Image source

After reading the article describing the connection between hurricanes and amoeba infection, I was inspired to create this piece.  The amoeba is viewed from the top, with its “mouth” (represented in green) devouring nerve cells (red).  In a way, this process is similar to a hurricane, which “swallows” everything in its way.  The “mouth” of the amoeba is surrounded by the swirling waters and winds of the hurricane.  While the process of engulfing neurons and houses is vastly different, the underlying vortex-like forces are surprisingly  similar at both micro and macro scale.


Daily Prompt:  Surreal

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