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The Supernova is an image I created when investigating the spatial and temporal dynamics of the synchronized genetic clock circuit (Research or Danino et al. Nature 2010). The experiment started by loading a single bacteria into a microfluidic device and capturing images every few minutes to watch the dynamics of the growing colony develop in three-dimensions. At this scale, the colony initially produces a synchronized burst when it reaches a critical density (as seen in the picture below) and then radially expands and produces travelling waves of fluorescence (see movie below). This was one of my favorite experiments during my Ph.D., and since it looked like an exploding star, it became known as the "Supernova."
The Supernova image won a BioEASI award, was shown in DK publishing's book "Big Ideas that Changed the World", and was displayed at the Koch Institute galleries at MIT. For my Ph.D. defense, a friend of mine (Olivia Lin, Atiliay) who is a cake designer made us a Supernova cake (below). The Supernova is also featured as a weapon in the bacteria based video-game Syndemic.
In this video, I explain the science behind the Supernova image.