Back in 2003, when he was a fourth year medical student at Washington University in St. Louis looking at a career in oncology, Lukas Wartman was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. For Wartman, the diagnosis was bleak – while this type of leukemia, which affects the blood and bone marrow, is very treatable for children, it often proves fatal for adults. Two years of chemotherapy followed and Wartman went into remission and completed his medical studies. The reprieve was short-lived. By 2008, he relapsed again.
When Jane Chen and Drue Kataoka met at the Forum of Young Global Leaders in 2012, they quickly formed a friendship based on their shared passion for carrying out socially impactful work. They both came from significantly different backgrounds — Chen is the co-founder of Embrace, a startup that hopes to curb high worldwide infant mortality rates by way of the low-cost Embrace infant warmer, while Kataoka is a visual artist whose often interactive work aims to bridge the perceived gap between art and technology. Flash forward three years, and the two women have launched a unique collaboration that combines Chen’s business and Kataoka’s art to raise awareness of and ultimately decrease high global infant mortality rates.
On May 6, the typical stylish New York City gallery crowd mingled and gawked at art lining the walls of the Betaworks studio gallery in the city’s Meatpacking District for The MSSNG Lab, an invitation and one-night-only art installation and auction. What separated this from similar art events in the city? Well, for one thing, biochemist and fine art photographer Linden Gledhill was stationed center stage on a platform staring down a microscope as a screen projection on the wall showed in real-time the microscopic images he was analyzing.