ROCHESTER, Minn. — May 2, 2012. It turns out beauty really is skin deep. A hair follicle or skin specimen that doesn't look like much of anything to the naked eye can become a complex, colorful work of art under a microscope. Mayo Clinic dermatologists struck by the beauty they see in the cellular have started a competition to celebrate art in medicine. The winning entries appear in the May issue of the Journal of Cutaneous Pathology. The public can see entries in the current contest and vote on them on the Mayo Clinic News Blog.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: A video interview with Dr. Lehman and images of the art are available for journalists to download on the Mayo Clinic News Network.
"Every single day, dermatopathologists get to see beautiful images under the microscope, and most people never have the opportunity to see that. So I thought it would be not only a nice way to show not only the science of dermatopathology, but also the art," says the contest's creator, Julia Lehman, M.D., a Mayo Clinic dermatopathologist.
Dermatopathologists and immunodermatologists examine skin specimens to help diagnose skin conditions. For "Hair Follicle Triplet," the winner of the inaugural art contest in 2011, shown at right, Alexander Meves, M.D., used fluorescent dyes to highlight proteins and took a photo of them.
Dr. Lehman hopes medical societies will run with the idea and hold similar competitions to highlight aesthetics in their specialties. People in other lines of work also can celebrate the beauty of what they do each day, she says.
"Art can be seen in every aspect of life," Dr. Lehman says. "You just have to have an open mind and be looking for it."
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