The Wise Laboratory Logo

The Wise Laboratory Logo is a unique and original work of art describing the perspective of the Laboratory and the work it does. It consist of four parts: The Outer Circle, the Inner Circle, the Aquatic Creatures, and the Motto. The intent of each section and the artists behind the design are described below:

The Outer Circle: The Outer Circle contains the full laboratory name (The Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology) along with two stars. Toxicology is the study of how chemicals poison living organisms. Environmental Toxicology is the study of how chemicals in the environment poison life. Genetic Toxicology is the study of how chemicals damage DNA. Our work encompasses a simple perspective: Pollution poisons all of us. Thus, we study how chemicals in the environment damage DNA in humans and wildlife.

The two stars represent our efforts to reach for the stars both symbolically by being the best we can be and literally as we study the health impacts of space dusts and altered gravity, in preparation for mankind’s future endeavors.

 The Inner Circle: The Inner Circle contains an artistic representation of chromosomes arranged into an orange W and a blue L; an abbreviation for The Wise Laboratory displayed in the Lab colors. Studying chromosomes are at the heart of our work and, therefore, are at the center of our logo.

Living organisms are made of cells, which are typically drawn artistically as a circle. Chromosomes are structures inside of each cell that organize, protect and package that cell’s DNA. Chromosomes are found in all living organisms from bacteria and yeast to humans. Each species has a specific number and organization to their chromosomes. Humans have 46, sperm whales have 42, hawksbill sea turtles have 56, American alligators have 32, and so on for other species. Most people are familiar with them because many species have chromosomes that code for gender with females having two X chromosomes and males having an X and a Y chromosome.

Chromosomes contain upper and lower arms connected in the middle by a round button-like structure called a centromere. At first glance, it is easiest to see our representation of these from the outer parts of our orange W. You can see two upper arms and two lower arms and the round centromere in the middle. Sometimes the upper arms are absent or are smaller than the lower arms for an individual chromosome. This aspect is shown by the lower chromosome of our blue L – the upper arms are quite tiny on this chromosome. One upper arm with the lower arm directly below it are together called a chromatid. Thus, a chromosome is composed of two parallel chromatids that are identical copies of each other, also known as sister chromatids.

When a cell divides into two cells, there are structures on either end of the cell called centrosomes that run fibers to either side of the centromere on the chromosome. These fibers, called microtubules, pull each chromosome apart simultaneously with an even amount of tension such that each daughter cell gets one of the sister chromatids from each of the cells chromosomes. Later in the cell’s life it will duplicate these chromatids as it prepares to divide again and in this manner the cell ensures that daughter cells contain the same amount of DNA as the original cell had.

Chemicals in the environment can interfere with the chromosomes causing errors in structure and number which can have dramatic health consequences including cancer, difficulty reproducing and impaired development of children or offspring. We study how chemicals damage DNA and alter chromosome structure and number causing these negative health outcomes in humans and wildlife. Hence, chromosomes and their alterations are at the core of our work and our logo. You can see an altered chromosome in the middle chromosome of the orange W. Notice how it is a fusion of two chromosomes indicated by the fact it has two centromeres? This type of damaged chromosome can be caused by chemicals and is called a dicentric. It is particularly dangerous and lethal to a cell.

The Aquatic Creatures:  Our research includes humans and many wildlife species as we all share One Environmental Health. Because our wildlife work began with aquatic animals, we focused on them in the logo. Depicted in our wave of aquatic animals are: Humans*, sperm whales, humpback whales, dolphins, manatees, sea lions, sea otters, polar bears, sea birds, sea turtles, alligators, frogs, fish, sharks and octopuses. Can you find them all? (*Note: we consider humans an aquatic species, because as a species we depend on bodies of water for food, transportation, recreation, and spirituality/inspiration.)

The Motto:  We believe wisdom is a result of lifelong education through experience, practice, and technical and academic training. We challenge ourselves and others to have the courage and strength to continually and constantly learn and be wise. Thus, our motto is the Latin phrase “Sapere Aude” – Dare to be Wise! It is pronounced “saw-pear-eh Ow-day”.

Logo Design:  Our logo is an original piece of art drawn by the internationally renowned illustrator Greg Wray. It was conceptualized as a collaborative effort amongst Greg Wray, John Pierce Wise, Sr., Sandra Wise, James Wise, John Pierce Wise, Jr., Catherine Wise and Christy Gianios, Jr. Mr. Wray is best known for his artistic work with Disney, Warner Brothers and Universal Studios among others. His work and contact information is showcased on his website,