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Parasitic Lifespans – Jen Southern and Rod Dillon Co-Commission

NEoN Digital Arts and the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research are pleased to announce the co-commission of a new digital art work by artist Jen Southern and scientist Rod Dillon. The work will launch in Dundee and online in November 2018, as part of NEoN Digital Arts Festival under its theme of lifespans. Considering the lifespan of the parasite that causes Leishmaniasis, the work takes a playful approach to how the sand fly transmits the parasite, and how the parasite transforms itself to live in different hosts – both animal and human.

Artist Jen Southern has exhibited her work internationally over 25 years. She works as Director of the Mobilities Lab at the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University. Her work is a hybrid of art practice, research into mobile technologies, and speculative software design. Rod Dillon is an entomologist/microbiologist and senior lecturer at Lancaster University, specialising in Leishmania-sandfly interactions. He has collaborated with artists previously working together with Jen since 2011.

The Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research is based at the University of Dundee. It brings together researchers from a wide variety of backgrounds to address the urgent need for new medicines to fight diseases of the developing world. This includes the expertise of the Drug Discovery Unit, where researchers from medicinal chemistry and biology backgrounds work to develop new pharmaceutical products. It also unites parasitologists who study the diseases and scientists who investigate the unseen mechanisms that could drive the successful action of the developed drugs on particular parasites. A new potential treatment for visceral leishmaniasis – one of the world’s major neglected diseases – has recently been discovered by Dundee’s researchers with the results published in Nature.


This co-commission is part of the wider public engagement programme of the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research, which is generously supported by the Wellcome Trust.

Image Credit: Wild type Ld BOB promastigote, Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research


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