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Scientific Events

Looking Glass launched at IMBA

Looking Glass- Photographic Essays on the Mechanisms of Life is a publication that resulted from a collaboration between the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria. November 8th 2018, the book was officially launched in a crowded IMBA atrium.

Josef Penninger, founding director of IMBA and editor of the book, together with Gerald Bast, president of the University of Applied Arts presented the concept behind this special book and once again highlighted the synergies between arts and science.

The centerpiece of the Book consists of 15 impactful papers in the history of IMBA – and their unique visual interpretations by the young photo-artists. A dialogue between scientist and artist laid the basis for these artworks: Researchers at IMBA, from PhD to PI level, got together with the artist and tried to convey their research - the individual photo essays were then realized as a result of this exchange.

Johannes Stadlmann, explained his cutting-edge research on glycoproteomics, (Stadlmann, Taubenschmid et al., Nature, 2017) that led to an extraordinary photo series in the book. Sabrina Ladstätter, Research Associate in the Lab of Kikue Tachibana and Berlin -based photo artist Evelyn Bencicova, gave insights in the “making of” process and their lively discussions on a zygotic surveillance mechanism in her multiple awarded Cell paper (Ladstätter et al., Cell, 2016).

We would like to thank all the researchers and artists for their outstanding commitment to this project!!


Art and science both disciplines query concepts and theories, explore new contexts, and render abstract information tangible. Both are strongly motivated by creativity and the ability to visualize. Looking Glass combines the two genres in a playful manner: photography and molecular biology. The book conveys highly complex content in an emotional-esthetic way, and thereby shines a new light on pure molecular research: groundbreaking discoveries made at the IMBA and published in prestigious media (Nature, Cell, Science and others) are transformed into unique photo galleries visualized with applied photography—which imbue the fundamental mechanisms of life with stories. More about the book: LOOKING GLASS.

“Looking Glass- Photographic Essays on the Mechanisms of Life” is published by De Gruyter, a renowned publishing house, with a focus on arts and philosophy. It is internationally available - in selected bookstores around the world, and online.