Where do proteins come from? How are they made? What do they do? For 20 years now, Vivienne Baillie Gerritsen (Swiss-Prot Group) has been writing stories on proteins, posted every month on the Protein Spotlight blog. To widen the blog’s audience, she is currently working with cartoonist aloys lolo and web designer David Roessli (Cybermedia Concepts) to create online comic strips in English and French, adapted from popular Protein Spotlight stories. The first strips are now published on their dedicated page, with many more to come.

Protein Spotlight...?

In 2000, a group of protein scientists from SIB’s Swiss-Prot Group decided to pick one protein out of the hundreds of thousands that exist, and write about it on a monthly basis. A blog written in English, maintained by Science Writer Vivienne Baillie Gerritsen and blending biology and literature, was born. ‘Throb’, ‘The geometry of intelligence’, ‘The making of crooked’, ‘Life, a subtle balance’... 20 years on, over 200 articles have been written and Protein Spotlight has thousands of readers across the world: researchers, students, teachers, journalists and the odd amateur life scientist...

By way of an inspired dialogue between a biologist and a non-specialist very keen to learn, discover the role entities as minute as proteins play in the grand scheme of things, and see complex biological concepts unfolding into poetic, quirky and even glamorous situations. Dive into how petunias synthesize scents, or into one of the ways the virus causing COVID-19 enters our cells – and for those who would like to acquire a greater understanding of what is meant by “protein”, enjoy the playful introduction created for the occasion.

“Over the next two years, aloys lolo and myself will be working together to make the world of proteins accessible to a broader public and young adults in particular,” explains Vivienne. “Every month, we will design and publish one comic strip describing one protein. We will be very careful to choose proteins from each biological kingdom, in an effort to demonstrate how varied in nature, structure and function, and how extraordinary proteins are! In Autumn 2022, all the comic strips will be gathered into an album.”

You can subscribe to the comic strips here.