A Sea of Lipid Flowers

Year: 
2017
Ranking: 
People's Choice
Artist: 
Marine Minasyan
Department: 
Materials Research Laboratory
Lab: 
Safinya Lab

Description

As seen in the image, these lipids appear as a field of flowers. This reflects the process of how water induces changes in the textures of lipids,  similar to how a flower blossoms as it absorbs water.

Lipids are macromolecules that can be consumed through our diet, which function as a form of energy storage in our bodies. In addition, lipids can be utilized as vehicles for drug and gene delivery. The efficiency of a lipid as a vehicle is based on specific phases it may spontaneously transition into. The possible phases lipids may progress into are governed by their chemical structure and their interaction with water, which allows them to swiftly change from one phase to another. This image exhibits lipids in an inverse hexagonal phase.

CSEP CNSI Schuller Lab UCSB