mRNA Vaccine Visualization (and cute frame for my vaccination record card)
I grew up with my mom telling me stories about chicken pox, and then a few of my friends caught it. I avoided catching the pox and I was able to be vaccinated against it. Now I’m an adult with a significant protection against shingles! I think vaccines are fantastic and things of marvel and wonder. (Which is also why I love my Sawbones “Pro-Vax” pin.) Not long after the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines became available, a team of people sequenced the mRNA from both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and published the data. Looking at the sequenced data is fascinating: it’s the code that instructs a molecular machine to make a protein.
I wanted something to be reminded of the awesome science of vaccines. The first viable mRNA vaccines felt like a momentus enough shift in public health that I wanted to make a physical record of it. (e.g. the Voyager Golden Record or temperature knitting.) I decided to 3D print a small plaque that translated the amino acids (ACTG) into columns of different heights with a separations around the start and stop codons.
The 3D print itself took quite a while because there was a lot of extruder movement. The printer also struggled a bit with some of the precision if you look closely enough, but overall the finished print turned out great and looks fantastic.
I also made a simple frame to hold my CDC “COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card” above the printed mRNA plaque. Now it sits on my desk and acts as a delightful visual reminder of the awesomeness of vaccines.