ArtTheIES - Artist in Residence

©Anna Dumitriu

“Art-the-IES” – The first Artist in Residence programme at the Institute of Epigenetics and Stem Cells of the Helmholtz Zentrum München

Our research at the Institute for Epigenetics and Stem Cells (IES) is dedicated to exploring the fascinating field Cell Identity and uncovering the molecular mechanisms underlying Cellular ReprogrammingCell Fate and Cellular Memory. We aim to unlock a cell’s full potential by resetting its Memory so far that it once again takes on the Identity of a totipotent cell- able to give rise to all of our somatic cells and to form a full organism practically from scratch.

Our motto at the IES is ‘Science has no borders and is for everyone’. Helping to improve healthcare and shaping policies for excellent and accountable research are deeply embedded in our ethos. Our work has the potential to pave the way for future medical approaches that will benefit the well-being of everyone, so bringing this research and its benefits closer to society is a key endeavour of our mission.

Curiosity and the deep desire to understand and know more about the life within and around us is the key driver of our new artist-in-residence programme “Art-the-IES”. As a pilot programme for future Art-Science-initiatives at the Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU), it aims to create a new way of conceptualising, engaging with and implementing our research towards a stronger and more meaningful impact towards our society.

Since January 2020, Art-the-IES has evolved from idea to implementation and commenced in July 2020 with a virtual kick-off event in the form of a talk by our invited artist, the internationally renowned Bio-Artist Anna Dumitriu. The artist’s work is outlined around our major research question: How does a Cell find its Identity? She will focus on the mutability of the cell, and what controls its constancy, and how this affects gene expression and the nature of life. Her work will explore the desirability of a deeper understanding of cell biology and the significant impacts on healthcare and disease prevention that will arise. The completed work will arise from discussions with researchers and through their shared poetic and philosophical reflections on the research.