By Robin Erb

Detroit Free Press Medical Writer

Lab bench and artist’s easel come together May 22 during an effort to battle some of our worst diseases.

Nearly a dozen pieces of art — in acrylics, in metal and in moving images — will be unveiled and auctioned at an Evening of Art + Science at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

The night caps a nine-month effort in which 11 contemporary artists from as far away as Belgium and Australia were each paired with medical researchers in the Emerging Scholars Program at the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.

The researchers see patients in a clinic, but also spend time in a lab conducting research to better understand — and ultimately to treat or cure — disease. Among their areas of focus: cancer, obesity, cardiology, inflammatory skin diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Last year, these researchers were asked to spend time with artists, too, said Edith Brisken, who serves on the Taubman Leadership Advisory Board.

“I can almost imagine the scientists thinking, ‘What are you getting us into?’ ” Brisken said, recalling the formation of the fund-raising idea for the program last year.

The result? “Fabulous pieces of art, they are just outstanding in every medium you can imagine,” she said.

Novelist and art critic Lynn Crawford coordinated the pairings: “I really felt it important to have artists that are brilliant as the scientists,” she said.

Tickets are $500 for a dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets that include a private reception at 5 p.m. are $1,000. Also available: $50 party tickets for a reception that begins at 8 p.m. and features drinks, dessert, dancing and the live auction of the artwork. MOCAD is at 4454 Woodward, Detroit.

For information and a list of artists and scientists, visit www.taubmaninstitute.org/artscience.

Artist Valerie Parks worked with neurosurgeon Dr. Nicholas Boulis to create this work, which will be auctioned to raise money to fund projects at the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan.

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