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Science, art and humor on display in Fred Hutch’s Halloween pumpkin carving contest

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Looking for a little levity in a world where science is tackling its fair share of tough problems, doctors and staff at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center held a pumpkin carving contest for Halloween.

The annual event held by the institution’s Basic Sciences and Human Biology divisions attracted 22 entries and more than 300 votes were cast in a variety of categories, including most artistic pumpkin, most horrific, most scientific and most humorous.

The winning entry for “most artistic” (above) was a peacock design carved up by Dr. Andrew Hsieh’s team. The design is in honor of Dr. Yiting Lim, a postdoc who recently left the lab for another position outside Fred Hutch.

“Her five years of work here resulted in a new technology that will greatly aid large scale functional genomic studies,” Hsieh said. “The completion of this work, and seeing our valued colleague move forward in her career was a shining point for all of us in this crazy year.”

Science, art and humor on display in Fred Hutch’s Halloween pumpkin carving contest

The winner of the “most scientific” category (above) was submitted by Dr. Kevin Cheung’s group and was described as a pumpkin centrifuge.

“We use it when we are extracting DNA from pumpkins — very dangerous,” Cheung’s lab said.

Science, art and humor on display in Fred Hutch’s Halloween pumpkin carving contestAnother winning entry hits close to home for plenty of people working from home during the pandemic, with a depiction of a Zoom video call taking place in a little pumpkin house. This winner in the “most humorous” category (above) was submitted by Dr. Jihong Bai’s team and described as “Tangerine in Quarantine, circa 2020.”

Fred Hutch staffers like getting into the holiday spirit with creative contests. In December, researchers in the Immunology Program held a “Winterfest” contest in which entrants built holiday centerpieces using just lab supplies.

Check out a few more pumpkin pics:

Science, art and humor on display in Fred Hutch’s Halloween pumpkin carving contestScience, art and humor on display in Fred Hutch’s Halloween pumpkin carving contestScience, art and humor on display in Fred Hutch’s Halloween pumpkin carving contest

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