Heimerman Science Center – Newman is in its DNA

Jun 16, 2016
Newman DNA Mural

Students of Newman University have voiced that the Heimerman Science Center is in great need of a replacement. On Friday, June 10, 2016, those voices were answered with the historic groundbreaking of the new Bishop Gerber Science Center, a state-of-the-art science building.

Once the construction of the Bishop Gerber Science Center is complete, the Heimerman Science Center will be demolished – but not forgotten. While there are many things about the Heimerman Science Center that current students, faculty, and alumni will remember, it is doubtful that anyone will forget about the art that covers the interior walls of the building.

One piece of art is particularly interesting due to its cryptic and scientifically appropriate subject. The spiral staircase joining the 1st and 2nd floor is decorated with a mural that begins with the top step and follows downward until the last step in the staircase.

The mural illustrates different amino acids using a three-letter code (codons) that is represented by the letters A, T, C, and G. Our bodies’ DNA is written using this code. To further simplify the codons, scientists have created shorthand code that gives each amino acid its own letter, corresponding to letters of the alphabet. For example, the amino acid Asparagine is represented using the codon letters “AAC” and simplified as “N.”

At the top of the staircase the first codon is shown as “AAT” – or “N” (Asparagine). The next codon shown is “GAA” – or “E” (Glutamine). The DNA sequence continues down the stairwell until the decrypted codons spell “NEWMAN.”

The table below references the amino acids in relation to its codon and letter abbreviation.

Codon Full
Abbreviation (3 Letter) Abbreviation
(1 Letter)
TTT Phenylalanine Phe F
TTC Phenylalanine Phe F
TTA Leucine Leu L
TTG Leucine Leu L
TCT Serine Ser S
TCC Serine Ser S
TCA Serine Ser S
TCG Serine Ser S
TAT Tyrosine Tyr Y
TAC Tyrosine Tyr Y
TAA Termination (ochre) Ter X
TAG Termination (amber) Ter X
TGT Cysteine Cys C
TGC Cysteine Cys C
TGA Termination (opal or umber) Ter X
TGG Tryptophan Trp W
CTT Leucine Leu L
CTC Leucine Leu L
CTA Leucine Leu L
CTG Leucine Leu L
CCT Proline Pro P
CCC Proline Pro P
CCA Proline Pro P
CCG Proline Pro P
CAT Histidine His H
CAC Histidine His H
CAA Glutamine Gln Q
CAG Glutamine Gln Q
CGT Arginine Arg R
CGC Arginine Arg R
CGA Arginine Arg R
CGG Arginine Arg R
ATT Isoleucine Ile I
ATC Isoleucine Ile I
ATA Isoleucine Ile I
ATG Methionine Met M
ACT Threonine Thr T
ACC Threonine Thr T
ACA Threonine Thr T
ACG Threonine Thr T
AAT Asparagine Asn N
AAC Asparagine Asn N
AAA Lysine Lys K
AAG Lysine Lys K
AGT Serine Ser S
AGC Serine Ser S
AGA Arginine Arg R
AGG Arginine Arg R
GTT Valine Val V
GTC Valine Val V
GTA Valine Val V
GTG Valine Val V
GCT Alanine Ala A
GCC Alanine Ala A
GCA Alanine Ala A
GCG Alanine Ala A
GAT Aspartate Asp D
GAC Aspartate Asp D
GAA Glutamate Glu E
GAG Glutamate Glu E
GGT Glycine Gly G
GGC Glycine Gly G
GGA Glycine Gly G
GGG Glycine Gly G
n/a Aspartate or Asparagine n/a B
n/a Glutamate or Glutamine n/a Z

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