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Environmental Factor, February 2014

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2014 calendar features artwork by NIEHS postdoc

By Eddy Ball

calendar cover

The cover suggests the calendar’s whimsical tone, with Molly frolicking in extracellular space. (Photo courtesy of Abcam)

This year, September will be a special month for Sheila Yong, Ph.D., a visiting fellow in the NIEHS Inositol Signaling Group. That’s when her artwork, which is part of the 2014 desk calendar distributed by the laboratory supply company Abcam, will be on display in offices, labs, and cubicles around the world.

Yong was one of 13 scientist-artists whose work was chosen in the Abcam Molly Calendar Art Contest held last summer. Contestants were invited to submit original artwork featuring Abcam’s mascot, Molly. The company describes the mascot as a molecular Dolly, referring to the cloned sheep featured on front pages worldwide in 1989, when the firm was founded in Cambridge, U.K.

“The contest was whimsical and lots of fun,” Yong said. “Like the others, my entry, ‘Molly’s Lambs First Day at School,’ satisfied the only specific requirement — that the artwork include Molly, with her molecular space-filled torso and antibody legs. The rest was completely up to the contestants.”

The calendar shows Molly in a variety of settings, including working in her lab, sitting at home by the fireside, soaring in the air, and relaxing on Miami Beach.

Winners included scientists from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Spain, and Japan. The prizes are modest — a $45 cash voucher, personalized tee shirt, and exclusive Molly print created by the company’s Molly design expert. But, each month, the winning artist will also be featured with a biography on the Abcam calendar page, where the 2014 calendar is available free of charge.

According to Abcam representative Francesca Axe, the calendar can also be requested by email at with the subject line “calendar – [country of residence],” for example “calendar – US.”

Sheila Yong

Winning the contest was an early holiday present for Yong, who proudly displays her cash voucher, Molly print, and her page from the calendar. “Participating in the contest reminded me of how much I used to enjoy art,” she noted. In addition to her experiments at the bench in signal transduction, she is a veteran contributing writer for the NIEHS Environmental Factor, as well as a translator fluent in Mandarin Chinese. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

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