Cartoon comics in the name of healthy microbes
Bethany Kolody was introduced to biology during her time at NYU’s “world honors college,” in the Middle East, where she had the opportunity to study in Sri Lanka, Ghana, and China. There, she worked in Fabio Piano’s lab studying mRNA localization in C. elegans. It soon became apparent that she was more interested in the nematodes themselves than their mRNA, and for her capstone thesis she orchestrated the first molecular phylogenetic survey of marine nematodes across the Arabian Gulf.
Today a Ph.D. student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Bethany has decided to shift her focus to smaller, even more obscure organisms - marine microbes. Her cartoon comics, often printed on T-shirts, are at once scientifically accurate and gleefully unusual. The network of Squidtoons contributors of which she is a part dedicates itself to translating scientific research into engaging infographics to educate the public about science, provide educators with teaching tools, and support scientists with illustrations. Squidtoons takes pride in “illustrating science with farts, burps, and giggles.”
“And the plankton that spawned every tree,
They call me,
But no one knows, what makes them grow.
And they give us all the oxygen we need, so mankind breathes
And life can grow, but it could all change, what with climate change.”
~ Bethany Kolody, Moana parody on the importance of microbes.