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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Putting science in the picture

Published: 27 April 2010

Science graduate with a passion for art is to donate two works to the University’s new Life Sciences Building

Having graduated from the School of Biological Sciences with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences in 2007, Jason Adamson works as a research scientist investigating the causes of lung disease. However, science is not Jason’s only passion – he is also a talented artist. He paints in his spare time, stages exhibitions and has had artwork commissioned for bars in Southampton and London.

Jason is donating two works for display in the School’s new home, the Life Sciences Building: an acrylic, Twisted Ladder (shown above), which portrays the structure of DNA, and The Cell (below), an abstract interpretation of an animal cell, which were both completed in the final year of his studies. They will be given a prominent position in the foyer of the new building, situated at Highfield Campus, when it is opens in Summer 2010.

Pride of place

Professor David Shepherd, accepting the donation during his tenure as Head of School, said that the School will be delighted to display them. “We have plenty of photographs of cells and other biological themes”, he said, “but this is the first time we have had any paintings reflecting what we do. We’re most grateful to Jason for his generosity and will be giving them pride of place in our new building.”

An unusual combination

Jason has always found it impossible to choose between art and science. “It was 50/50 between art and science right through my schooldays,” says Jason. “I had to persuade the staff at Totton College to let me take A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Art as it wasn’t considered a good career move, but I persevered and it was worth it.”

Jason isn’t quite sure how his dual talents developed: “I’m not related to any artists or scientists as far as I know. My father’s an engineer and my mother is a teacher, who also qualified at Southampton. But my sister is now an undergraduate at the School of Biological Sciences too, so maybe we’re starting a new trend.”

He chose Biomedical Sciences at Southampton’s School of Biological Sciences because of its reputation. “I didn’t want to go away to university because I had travelled round the world a lot with my family when I was younger. Southampton is well-respected for biological science and it was a good choice. The degree was very flexible and I was able to study several interesting aspects of the subject.”


The Cell

Exams and exhibitions

By chance, his first solo exhibition was scheduled at the same time as his second-year exams. “It was a stressful time preparing for both but I’m pleased to say they went well. I passed the exams and sold 10 of my paintings,” he explains. Art and science coincided at another of his exhibitions. “I was doing some work on my dissertation into cell death in cancer during a quiet moment at an exhibition and a visitor came up to me and asked what I was doing. I thought he wouldn’t be interested, but it turned out he was a local GP who even went on to buy one of my pictures.”

Jason remains passionate about science and is enjoying the opportunity to put all the analytical and research skills gained at Southampton into practice. “Scientific research is my career and I want to progress and do well, but art is still important to me. My artistic and design skills come in useful at work; I’ve been called on to help produce a brochure highlighting what we do. But I think it’s best to keep my painting as a very special hobby.”

Jason’s work can be viewed at

Images © Jason Adamson

Jason Adamson

My first solo exhibition was scheduled at the same time as thesecond-year exams. It was a stressful time preparing for both but I’m pleased to say they went well. I passed the exams and sold 10 of my paintings.

Jason Adamson - BSc Biomedical Sciences
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