Giorgia Lupi

Artist Giorgia Lupi

(Medford MA, December 15, 2023) – PolyBio is excited that a new visual media article featuring Foundation-supported research was published today in the New York Times. The piece was created by award-winning information designer¬†Giorgia Lupi. Lupi creates data-driven visual narratives across print, digital and environmental media that drive new insight and appreciation of people, ideas, and organizations. In the current New York Times piece she used these media to illustrate her personal struggle with LongCovid illness – a chronic condition disabling millions of patients across the globe. The work adds to Lupi’s extensive visual art portfolio that includes a permanent collection at the New York City Museum of Modern Art.

Image of neutrophils and platelets interacting

“The images that Dr. Michael VanElzakker and his team at Harvard Medical School captured of my blood show, in vivid color, activated platelets (blood cells that clot to stanch bleeding) and neutrophils (the most abundant type of white blood cells) when they should be dormant”

To illustrate her LongCovid journey in the NYT piece, Lupi animated data from her medical records and medical testing results. She illuminated a table in which she documented a range of debilitating symptoms for 1,374 days after suffering from COVID-19 in 2020. She also displays images of dysregulated immune cell activity captured via imaging of her own blood. These images were obtained by Dr. Michael VanElzakker and team at Harvard Medical School as part of work supported by PolyBio’s LongCovid Research Consortium, The imaging team includes Dr. Lael Yonker and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Brittany Boribong – who are working on a large project to characterize clotting, immune, and vascular abnormalities in LongCovid blood.

Image of neutrophil releasing a neutrophil extracellular trap

“‘The blue in the images shows that the neutrophils are fighting instead of just floating around,’ explained Dr. VanElzakker.”

To have her blood imaged for the NYT piece, Lupi travelled to Boston where she spent at day with Dr. Michael VanElzakker and his PolyBio colleague Dr. Amy Proal. Lupi’s blood was collected, stained and visualized via a fluorescent microscope by VanElzakker’s team. One image (above) shows, in vivid color, activated platelets (blood cells that clot to stanch bleeding), and neutrophils (the most abundant type of white blood cells) when they should be dormant. Another blue image (left) “shows that the neutrophils are fighting instead of just floating around” says Dr. VanElzakker.”¬†Because Dr. VanElzakker’s LongCovid blood imaging study continues to grow thanks to PolyBio support, a long-term goal is that Giorgia’s blood and other LongCovid test results can be obtained moving forward for analysis and publication in further pieces or exhibits.