Allergy-vaccines and ink for BioArt: Proteins for artistic and medical applications will be generated by scholars and researchers

BIO-KoSMoS was a project which links biotechnology, medicine and modern art. Therefore, the young and different mindset of students was required. With the help of Flying Labs, lab days at the university, a mentoring system and a think-tank in the sense of "open innovation" we tried to bring the creativity of young people into research.

Within the project, the expression of allergens and fluorescent proteins in a cell-free system was established. This allowed a high-throughput screening of modified allergens for therapeutic applications. Therefore, we focused on ragweed and cypress pollen allergies. Especially ragweed, a neophyte introduced from North America into the European flora, accounts responsible for an increasing number of allergic diseases in Austria. Cypress allergies in contrast constitute a huge health problem in the Mediterranean area. Thus, with this Sparkling Science project we created a novel platform for targeted allergy design.

Fluorescent proteins, which are necessary to establish the cell-free protein expression system, were directly used as pigment material to manufacture and test BioArt inks and BioArt dyes. This biological colour system was adapted together with pupils for the artistic usability and tested on various painting and printing surfaces. An exhibition of the resulting artwork demonstrated the close relationship of science and art to a broad public, thus proving the benefits of modern innovation management.

To ensure an inspiring and sustainable science education, this project provided the basis to establish another Flying Lab – for schools nationwide in Austria. The Flying Labs are an award-winning educational initiative, which successfully transfer modern science directly to schools for years now. This ensures a permanent and successful cooperation between universities and schools.
In addition to the research objectives, primary goals of this project were to inspire young people to think and work scientifically, to establish new methods for allergen expression and to create internationally unique biotechnological painting materials.

This project has been completed.