Collaboration between two biologists and a physicist resulted in the example of tattooing being used as a motivator to support discussion across several scientific fields (cell biology, microbiology, human health, and physics). Although often viewed as self-destructive and rebellious in the Western world, tattooing has a deep and rich history full of meaning, for example as a rite of passage. Our main objective was to use a culturally relevant topic as a way to increase student engagement and learning while linking biological phenomena and physics. We describe this experience and provide a brief background on how the art and history of tattooing can aid in teaching young biologists.

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