ZOMBIE BEES

EXPERIMENTATIONS IN DECELLULARIZATION & TISSUE CULTURING

Between Dec. 2017 and Jan. 2018, I was artist-in-residence at SymbioticA, University of Western Australia, Perth. During my time there, I was introduced to some basic protocols in tissue culture practices.

 

I experimented with decellularization of bee cells in both the pupa and the adult bee. I was interested in the process of cell washing, and also how that would work with insect exoskeleton. While the decellularization worked very well with the softer pupas, the adult bee's exoskeleton did not change visibly during the time I was there. 

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I also cultured some basic mammalian cells from the lab stock, just to go through the basic tissue culturing process. After the bee pupa was

completely decellularized, I submerged the remaining "skin" into the mammalian tissue culture, to see if it would recellularize onto the scaffold of the pupa. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see the final result in my time there.

Injecting decellularization chemicals into adult and pupa bees. This is to speed up the process of from both within and without of the organism.

Bee collection. Mike Bianco teasing out the pupa from the honey comb. Bees need to be put into a container and frozen for a few hours before they are ready for decellularization.

The experiment was set up on Jan. 18th at 6pm.

Jan. 19, 2018, decellularization under the microscope

Jan. 22, 2018

Jan. 23, 2018, decellularization complete

Jan. 24, 2018, recellularization under the microscope