Peter Johnson, M.D., president and CEO of Scintellix, and vp of R&D at Avery Dennison Medical, is the creator of all the cryptograms in the GEN Challenge series. The Cryptogram Challenge: Electroporation was composed of two images. Image A depicts an artist’s conception of a cell membrane after electroporation. Image B is an artist’s conception of a sheet of cells, four to a grid square, variably expressing green fluorescent protein after transfection with an inhibitor of the gene. Image B also depicts only one of several gene regulation outcomes, since electroporation protocols can be personalized for their degrees of effectiveness based on cell type, buffer constituents, and electroporation settings.
The task was to decode the cipher in Image B.
“The contest represented the power of electroporation to influence cellular behavior,” said Dr. Johnson. “The solution revealed a brief message that illuminates a view toward gene control.”
The Cryptogram Challenge: Electroporation followed five previous contests—the MicroArray Challenge and four Cryptogram Challenges (ELISA, ELISA Redux, RNAi, and RNAi-2)—that each enjoyed great success when presented on GEN’s website beginning in 2008.