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Organised by Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine & STATE Festival

Artist Residency on crispr

Selected through STATE Festival's Open Call, Emilia Tikka spent two months at the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine in the first European artistic residency on gene-editing technology CRISPR. During the residency Emilia Tikka worked with scientists of the MDC Stem Cell Platform and Genome engineering laboratories. As a result of the residency she created the work: ÆON -Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR.

Some scientists claim being able to eliminate major hallmarks of cellular aging by partially reprogramming specific genes in human genome called the Yamanaka Factors. Drawing from this research recently published in Cell, the artist created her own experiment at the MDC: She was “reversing” the cellular ageing in human cells by partially reactivating the Yamanaka factors by using the novel CRISPR/dCAS9system. The novel application of CRISPR, doesn't cut the genome but activates genes. The experiment speculates how reversing ageing might be conducted in the future with CRISPR. This proof-of-concept experiment is shown as a part of the ÆON installation as edited human fibroblasts on a petri dish and as film, shot with incubator`s microscopic camera. Based on this scientific concept, Emilia Tikka designed a speculative device, a CRISPR inhaler -, breathable “rejuvenation treatment”, including 3 glass vials of dCAS9, gRNA and Nano particles and a fictional philosophical story of a couple (see more in the page: ÆON).

Film still image, shot through incubator`s microscopic camera

Film still image, shot through incubator`s microscopic camera

Edited human Fibroblasts on 3x4 wells

Edited human Fibroblasts on 3x4 wells

Screenshot from the film documentation of ÆON - Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR.

Screenshot from the film documentation of ÆON - Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR.

Experiments produced in a collaboration with MDC Scientists:

Jürgen Stumm and Norman Krueger (Stem Cell platform)

Dubravka Vucicevic (Computational Regulatory Genomics)