Musical bioreator
in collaboration with Adam Zaretsky

During the time that Adam Zaretsky was exploring the effects of music on bacterial fermentation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oron and Ionat were in the process of growing their Pig Wings at Harvard Medical School. We decided to collaborate by playing Pig Music to Pig Wings. To this end, we downloaded all the pig related MP3s from the soon to be illegal Napster. By typing in PIG as the keyword, we got all sorts of etymological nuances connected to the symbolism of this animal. A few examples: War Pigs by Black Sabbath, Fascist Pig by Suicidal Tendencies, Da Killing of Da Pigs by Da Yoopers, Chokin this Pig by Eminem, Squeal Like a Pig by The Reverend Horton Heat, Filth Pig by Ministry, American Pigs by The Angry Samoans, British Pigs- The Price of Royalty by One Life Choir, PigInCheez By Aphex Twin and Blue Christmas by Porky Pig. We played Pig Music to Pig Wings in the Professor Vacanti's Lab at Mass General Hospital. The Vibro Transducers generously donated by Acouve Laboratories were suspsended in the incubator and the Synthecon Bioreactor vessels were taped to these vibrating plate speakers.


Over the next three weeks the music was applied on a regular basis. This allowed us time during the week to relax and listen to music with the steadily differentiating bone precursor cells. We started with what we referred to as a Dynamic Seeding Musical Bioreactor. The wing shaped polymer constructs were about 4mm thick. Mesenchenal stem cells are around 15 thousandths of a millimeter in diameter. Looking for the best technology for getting cells deep into constructs is a common problem for tissue engineering. The constructs were very porous and it was hypothesized that the irregular vibrations of the music might assist in the distribution and physical embedding of the cells into the construct.

Alteration of Sculptural Morphology was noticed early on as the wing shaped biopolymers curled up like fried corn chips after the first few songs. Not surprisingly, the wings visibly 'danced' to the music both during the early seeding of the biopolymers and on their following weekly exercise regiments. Bouncing and twisting, stretching and jumping, the Pig Wings took flight. After the incubation period had finished, some of the Musically Entertained Pig Wings were sent to histology to be compared to the Pig Wings whom had been Musically Deprived. Considerable differences in cells count, tissue morphology and distribution throughout the construct were ascertained. Although our application of music to growing tissue cultures was informal and non-repeatable, our observations and the results of the histological comparison lead us to postulate that Pig Music may have a curious effect when applied to Pig Tissue in Vitro.



Musicaly entertained Pig Wing


  Musicaly Deprived pig wings
Note the amount, distribution & morphology of the tissue

Scientific Perspective
By Kylie M Sandy

In the pig wings project, mesenchymal cells (bone marrow cells) from pigs are grown over bioabsorbable poylmers. The scientific aspect of the project is engaging an artisitic medium, to investigate both the movement of bone cells within the 3D scaffold of the polymer, and the occurrence of calcification within the polymer. Future research will include quantitative and qualitative accounts of the amount of calcification in the polymers, when they are subjected to sound waves. Findings have a potential application to orthopaedic science and tissue engineering.