White Night Melbourne 2014 raising biomedical awareness

Yesterday was White Night. Among the heavily crowded streets and the decreased concentration of events (they made them more spaced out) compared to last year, one of the biggest attractions was the La Trobe reading room “The Dome”. The biomedical animator Drew Berry transformed the room into a spectacular molecular kaleidoscope, magnifying viruses a billion times and spread them across the dome. Alongside the eye candy were facts and statistics raising awareness about common viruses. Below is a YouTube video that I attempted to create using the footage that I took. The sounds at the time were a bit dark and scary so I’ve decided to replace it with a suitable song. Sorry for not rotating the camera during the filming. Don’t stress yourself by turning your neck every thirty seconds, the text is shown below in this post.


Polio virus 1,000,000,000x
Eradicated except for: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria
Global deaths 1914: 500,000
Global deaths 2014: 300
Disease: Polio
Sign: Muscle paralysis and death
Lifeform: Polio virus
Genome: 1 gene, single stranded RNA

Herpes virus 1,000,000,000x
Most people are symptom free
Disease: Genital herpes
Infected: 2 our of 10 people in this room
Disease: Oral “cold sore” herpes
Infected: 7 out of 10 people in this room
Lifeform: Herpes virus
Genome: 74 genes, double stranded DNA

Rotavirus 1,000,000,000x
Annual deaths: 500,000+
Infected: Everyone has been infected by age 3
Disease: Gastro
Symptoms: Diarrhoea, fever and vomiting
Lifeform: Rotavirus
Genome: 11 genes, single stranded RNA

HIV virus 1,000,000,000x
1914 deaths: 0
2014 deaths: 1,500,000
Disease: AIDS
Sign: Exhaustion, weight loss, sores, death
Lifeform: HIV virus
Genome: 10 genes, single stranded RNA

Papilloma virus 1,000,000,000x
Infected: 1 out of 20 people in this room
Symptoms: Skin and genital warts, some infections develop into cancer
Disease: Papilloma
Lifeform: Papilloma virus, double stranded DNA
Genome: 10 genes

Rhinovirus 1,000,000,000x
Most people are symptom free
Infected: 8 out of 10 people in this room
Disease: Common cold
Symptoms: Runny nose, mild cough
Lifeform: Rhinovirus
Genome: 11 genes, single stranded RNA

Smallpox virus 1,000,000,000x:
1914 global deaths: 300,000
2014 global deaths: 0
Disease: Smallpox
Symptoms: Skin blisters that weep virus-infected pus
Lifeform: Smallpox virus
Genome: 198 genes, double stranded DNA

Influenza virus 1,000,000,000x
1914 global deaths: 5,000,000
2014 global deaths: 300,000
Disease: Flu
Symptom: Sore throat, cough, runny nose
Lifeform: Influenza virus
Genome: 8 genes, single stranded RNA

Also, what I thought was pretty cool was there was this brave model who was body painted to represent the female human anatomy at RMIT.





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