Cohen Lab

Posts tagged #fun

AI Art Gallery in Barak's Office

When the PI is away, the grad students play!

Every year when Barak goes out of town for a long time, we prank his office as a welcome back surprise. Barak has recently taken a strong interest in Paul Cezanne, so this year we turned his office into an art gallery. We used the AI DALL-E 2 to generate fake art and hung it next to real art. We used another AI called ChatGPT to generate fake museum labels to accompany the fake art.

In addition, James used 24 photos of Barak from over the years and the "Dreambooth" technique to teach another AI, Stable Diffusion, what Barak looks like. Then, James asked Stable Diffusion to generate portraits of Barak in the style of several different artists. The collection of portraits is truly stunning -- there's even a museum label from ChatGPT emphasizing the mystery of the portraits' recurring subject!

Here are some pictures of the decor. Can you tell which pieces are real works of art?

Below is what ChatGPT had to say about the portrait collection:

"The Many Faces of _______: A Portrait Collection"

This collection features a series of portrait paintings, all depicting the same individual. The artwork on display was created by a diverse group of artists, each bringing their own unique style and perspective to the portrayed subject.

Who was this person, and why were they painted by so many different artists? These paintings offer a glimpse into the life and personality of the subject, but leave much to the imagination.

From the traditional techniques of the Old Masters, to the bold brushstrokes and vibrant colors of modern art, this collection showcases the versatility and enduring appeal of portraiture. The subjects depicted range from formal poses in elegant attire, to more relaxed and casual depictions.

Despite the varied styles and approaches, each of these paintings captures the essence of the subject and conveys a sense of their personality. This collection serves as a testament to the enduring power of portraiture as a means of preserving the human spirit on canvas, and leaves us wondering about the mystery of the person depicted.

Third Cohen Research Conference

The third annual Cohen Research Conference was held October 17-19, 2022 in Cadiz, KY. Everyone presented a talk about big questions or ideas they have. We also enjoyed communal cooking, a campfire near the water, a hike through the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, moonshine tasting, puzzles and board games, guitar performances by Barak and rotation student AJ, and more! We also stopped in Metropolis, IL to see a 15-foot statue of Superman. A great time was had by all. The CRC has certainly been cemented as a lab tradition!

Photo credit: James

Summer Cookout — Goodbye, Jeff and Siqi!

The lab joined family and friends to celebrate Jeff and Siqi's successful defenses with a backyard cookout! Barak presented a book to each of the graduates, and everyone was treated to a magic show … um, I mean scientific demonstration of the power of ESP.

Papers from the lab

Ryan, Max, Clarice and Jeff all had papers published recently! You can find the links to the papers in the Publications section.

Shown above are cool illustrations that describe Clarice's and Jeff's papers. Can you spot the molecular players in these?

Second Cohen Research Conference

The second Cohen Research Conference was held September 13-15, 2021 at Lake Geneva, WI. Every conference attendee registered online for the conference and presented a talk. Other activities included communal cooking, board games, swimming and kayaking, a lakeside hike, a meditation session, science talks out on the deck, and more! A strong continuation of CRC tradition. Thanks to Clarice and Jeff, the chief organizers of the conference.


Look what our intrepid observer Yawei spotted outside. It seems that stay-at-home won’t stop us from making observations. Imagine that you are the first human to ever observe a rainbow, how would you explain it? Or would you rather just enjoy it?

Virtual Reunion

The virtual celebration for Dana’s paper turned into a lab Zoom reunion on April 7, 2020. It was great to see everyone who could make it and hear stories from different eras of the lab.

First Cohen Research Conference

The first-ever Cohen Research Conference was held Feb 25-27, 2020 at Stonehaven Castle, Eureka Springs, AR. Every conference attendee registered online for the conference and presented a talk. Other activities included communal cooking, board-games, day-time and night-time hikes, a meditation session, sciencing around a campfire, spotting constellations on a clear black sky, balancing the entire lab on a log, and impromptu midnight performances with the guitar by Barak. It was a truly special experience. Thanks to Clarice and Jeff, the chief organizers of the conference.

Photo credit: James

Sailing fun

The lab spent a fun day sailing on Barak’s boat last week. The weather obliged with some great sunshine and good winds. The rejuvenated crew are now back in the lab to tackle smaller amounts of liquid.

Photo credit: James

Sailing through graduate school

When a few Cohen Lab members found themselves listlessly floating through the doldrums of graduate school, Barak came to the rescue. Quickly navigating rivers and creeks and roadside puddles, he sailed across Illinois and arrived in lab to the shock and awe of the other landlubber labs. His new crew gave a quick “yippee” and climbed aboard.

Might there be merits to guiding the ship into international waters where the rogue scientists could set up a nautical lab? Benefits would include easy access to fresh seafood, plenty of salt water for buffering our enzymatic reactions, and the inspiration of the fresh sea breeze. That said, we may need to invent new nautical approaches to sequencing DNA, discover internet-free ways of reading new papers, and identify some Atlantis-based funding source.

For now, we’ll keep residence within our lovely coffee-laden abode and escape to Carlyle Lake when the siren song becomes too much. But when the floods arrive again, look to the Cohen Lab for the beginnings of the NNIH: the National Nautical Institutes of Health.