Category Archives: Examples

Wellcome Trust: Biomedical Image Awards 2006

Wellcome Trust: Biomedical Image Awards 2006While browsing the gallery of award winners, you can listen to commentary from the creator of each image describing how it came to be.

The winners of the Awards challenge the public perspective that scientists don’t have an artistic side. Working every day with microscopes and imaging technology, these biologists have been able to capture stunning images through a blend of original and innovative techniques.

Despite the obvious visual appeal of the pictures, their primary purpose is investigation. The images are from research projects with the ultimate goal of helping to improve healthcare through new forms of prevention, treatment and vaccination.

Slice of Life

Slice of LifeAn annual conference at which medical and health science educators and developers gather from around the world to explore and share the uses of multimedia and information technology in medical education. The focus is on cutting edge developments, implementation of courseware, eLearning, web enhanced curricula, wireless mobile computing, graphic design, animation and digital video. Curricular integration, sharing and evaluation are central themes.

The 2005 conference was in June but there is a low-volume mailing list that distributes information about their activities and events that I joined. Maybe I can make next year. It looks like there were about ten sessions I would have liked to attend (“Virtual Reality and Anatomy Learning”, “Managing Your Digital Multimedia Assets: The HEALster Project”, “Story-Telling, Emotion, and Media in Technology-Based Medical Education”…). Of course, I would have had to have gone from the HeSCA meeting to InfoComm then straight to Slice of Life.

The BioArt of Dr. Frank Netter

The BioArt of Dr. Frank NetterHow the heck did I miss this? I stumbled across the site yesterday and it was, of course, too late for me to make plans to see it today. It would have been nice to see the old neighborhood. USP is right across the street from my first apartment. I’ll have to keep an eye on the Marvin Samson Center for the History of Pharmacy for future exhibits. It looks like it was a great show.

University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) is exhibiting a selection of original medical illustrations by Frank Netter, M.D. (1906-1991), a world-renowned anatomy artist who is regarded by many as the most accomplished and influential medical illustrator of the 20th century.

“The exhibition at USP consists of 47 unique gouache—watercolor—paintings from a corpus of more than 4,000 of Dr. Netter’s works that display various aspects of illness, trauma, anatomy, development, malformation, pathology, medical testing and diagnosis, and patient care. Many of his impressive illustrations, commissioned by Ciba-Geigy Corporation over several Woman with Dermatosisdecades, appeared in Clinical Symposia, a well-known quarterly clinical monograph used by primary care professionals as a teaching aid and reference.

CDC’s Disease Trading Cards

CDC's  Disease Trading CardsI’ll trade you a Cryptosporidiosis and a Cyclosporiasis for two Ecoli O157:H7 Infections.

The Center for Disease Control is offering 31 disease trading cards. The cards are very nicely designed and laid out. The images are compelling. The only thing I don’t like about them is that there is no way to download all the cards at once. Each individual card is in it’s own PDF file.

Exploratorium: Revealing Bodies

Exploratorium: Revealing BodiesPictures have always played an important role in the scientific process, especially in the history of anatomy Whether woodcut, sketch, sculpture, X ray, or MRI, visual images have helped us observe describe, model, categorize, analyze, and conceptualize the human body. How has this imagery changed the ways we look al our bodies? The Exploratorium invites you to delve into this provocative question posed by Revealing Bodies, an exhibition from March 18 to September 4, 2000, made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the California Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts

Kirsten Anderberg’s Online Vulva Museum

Kirsten Anderberg's Online Vulva MuseumA collection of powerful images put together by altenative journalist Kirsten Anderberg, described as “a rabble rouser living in the Pacific Northwest.”

From the site’s intro:

The following museum includes positive vulva imagery in art, jewelry, sculpture, graphic art, and more. Kirsten is continually saddened to see the widespread disrespect that is displayed towards women’s genitals in most cultures and is offering this website as an alternative for women and men alike, to expand past the corporate, political, and religious brainwashing to learn to love and be proud of the genitals we live with in our lives. Enjoy!”

The site warns that it’s intended for adults and it may be considered NSFW as well.


NetAnatomyNetAnatomy is designed to teach human anatomy to students of the health professions, including undergraduate medical, health sciences, and nursing students. NetAnatomy also serves as a place to review anatomy after one’s initial exposure to the subject, e.g. students beginning a clinical rotation, USMLE (National Board) preparation, etc.”

Quack, Quack, Quack

Quack, Quack, QuackIf you’re in the Philadelphia area in the next few weeks, it looks like the Dali exhibit isn’t the only reason to stop by the art museum. Through June 26th, there’s also Quack, Quack, Quack: The Sellers of Nostrums in Prints, Posters, Ephemera & Books.

This lively exhibition traces the history of the colorful purveyors of patent and quack medicines over the past four centuries. It contains seventy-five works ranging from humorous caricatures of itinerant quacks, flamboyant advertising posters, and promotional pamphlets for rival panaceas (each supported by extravagant claims of efficacy), to prints that document the first governmental attempts to curtail the more flagrant abuses.

Some of us from work are going to be there on a “field trip” in early April. I’ll try to post a review if time allows.

Mom’s Cancer: “Artist’s conception. Your terror may vary.”

Mom's CancerQ: Why a comic strip?

A: It was the right medium for the story I wanted to tell. Comic strips meld words and pictures to convey an idea with more economy and grace than either could alone. I was inspired to pursue the idea when I accompanied Mom to chemotherapy one day and did a quick sketch of her napping during the several-hour session. That sketch became ‘Arrangement in Grey and Black’ and encouraged me to give “Mom’s Cancer” a try.

[via metafilter]

The Protein Sculptures of Julian Voss-Andreae

The Protein Sculptures of Julian Voss-AndreaeMy current work plays on the sensuality and beauty which underlies sense and being itself. My work takes a literal look at the foundation of our physical existence. I create sculptures of proteins, the universal building blocks of life. … Creating organically shaped sculptures out of a large number of geometric pieces fascinates me, because the complexity of a living being is similarly made up of simple “inanimate” subunits. I want to follow science in its reductionist approach and present its isolated finds in an art context. Science needs to separate; it requires the scientist to detach himself from the observed object and separate the object into its parts in order to objectively analyze it. Art, on the other hand, requires the artist to become one with the object in order to transform it into an art object. Because of this, art has the unique power to heal what has been separated: The art object is an object that has been given life by the artist and the ability to live in the viewer. My protein sculptures offer an emotional experience of a world that is usually accessible only through our intellect.

[via Btang Reblog]

Virtopsy®: “Graphic, yes. Gory, no”

Virtopsy®: Autopsy Without a ScalpelVirtopsy® was born from the desire to implement new techniques in radiology for the benefit of forensic science.

From the Popular Science article “Why Give a Dead Man a Body Scan?“:

It’s a criticism supported by the cacophony of the courtroom, where prosecutors and defense lawyers often present dueling pathologists, each reinterpreting autopsy reports to favor one side or the other. Complicating a jury’s difficulty in following such arguments are the typically gore-drenched autopsy photos that prompt many to turn away in horror. “We [in Switzerland] are not so used to shows like CSI,” Thali points out. “It can be a real problem.” In the future that Thali envisions, any pathologist taking the witness stand can bloodlessly redissect the victim in full view of the jury by calling forth the original data stored on the discs. “Graphic, yes. Gory, no,” he says.

Seeing Is Believing

Seeing Is BelievingIllustrations were essential in spreading new scientific and medical ideas and it was often the case that new developments in the sciences were accompanied by corresponding developments in illustrative techniques. These techniques are the subject of Seeing Is Believing, which complements an exhibition of the same name on view from October 23, 1999-February 19, 2000 at The New York Public Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Library.

Laura Ferguson: The Visible Skeleton Series

Laura Ferguson: The Visible Skeleton SeriesBeauty rendered from deformity.

“Because I am an artist and tend to think in visual terms, I needed to be able to picture what my scoliotic spine looked like. As I began to learn about anatomy, I realized that the imagery was quite visually compelling, and could be interesting on many levels, from the literal to the metaphorical. I decided to undertake “an artistic inquiry into scoliosis.” I would use my artist’s duality: living through the experience and at the same time observing it and turning it into art. Scoliosis is a flawed model of the beautifully designed human musculoskeletal system, but I wanted to portray it as having its own more complex beauty, one that viewed deformity as differentness, and differentness as individuality.”

50 of these multi-layered paintings based on medical images of the artist’s own skeleton are currently being exhibited at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

StreamOR: Next Generation Education

StreamOR: Next Generation EducationFree Streaming Surgical Videos. Featuring the World’s First SurgeonCam and the The Digital Endoscopy Fellowship. A Digital Window to the OR for Physicians, Trainees, and Patients. Featuring Cutting Edge Open and Endoscopic Surgery From the World’s Leading Medical Centers. New videos are added daily – check back soon for clip-links that are not yet active. Surgery is an inherently visual art. It must be seen to be understood.

Alexander Tsiaras: The Birth Series

Alexander Tsiaras: The Birth SeriesAlexander Tsiaras, an artist for over 25 years, has focused in the last decade on creating works which utilize a combination of images from cutting edge technologies and real human data. He has developed much of this software himself, and the derived scans have been the source of inspiration for many of his works. The art transcends the unseen technology and allows us to experience the awe and beauty of our own physical existence and fragility.

Mr. Tsiaras, an award winning artist and photojournalist, has a new book due out later this year — The Architecture and Design of Man and Woman : The Marvel of the Human Body, Revealed. He’s also founder, president and CEO of Anatomical Travelogue.

Sensory Homunculi

Sensory Homunculi Continuing with the theme initiated in my April Nineteenth post.

This homunculus visualizes the connection between different body parts and areas in brain hemispheres.” Created by Jaakko Hakulinen.


This model shows what a man’s body would look like if each part grew in proportion to the area of the cortex of the brain concerned with its sensory perception.” From The Natural History Museum, London.

PBS: Probe the Brain

PBS: Probe the BrainBeginning in the 1940s, Canadian brain surgeon Wilder Penfield mapped the brain’s motor cortex — the area that controls the movement of your body’s muscles. He did this by applying mild electric currents to the exposed brains of patients while they were in surgery. Now you can relive his exploration of the brain. In the following feature we give you an electric probe and an exposed brain. All you need to do is shock and observe.” In addition to this somewhat dated shockwave, the site also offers an infographic (bottom of the page) illustrating how much of the brain’s motor cortex is devoted to controlling specific body parts. Seems like a good candidate for inclusion in the next Tufte book.

Inside Out Collection

Inside Out CollectionThe buildings and surroundings of La Trobe University, Beechworth Campus, were once occupied by Mayday Hills Hospital, a large psychiatric hospital which opened in 1867 and closed in the 1990s. The Inside Out Collection contains art by local residents, inspired by their memories of time there as patients. The work on display is representative of a much larger body of work.

NIH: Medical Posters

NIH: Medical PostersMedical posters drawn by artists at the National Institutes of Health help alert scientists to seminars on specialized subjects and attract public attention to medical topics of broad interest. Ideas for posters are most often gleaned from the human body itself. Many of the configurations found in science – a cell, muscle, or calcium channel – have great graphic appeal which the artist can often readily adapt into an eye-catching poster. The following medical posters represent a small fraction of the total number of posters designed over the past 30 years by artists in the NIH’s Medical Arts and Photography Branch.” [via Vigna-Marú]

Paolo Mascagni’s Anatomia Universa

Paolo Mascagnis' Anatomia UniversaThe unfailingly amazing Giornale Nuovo has done it again by pointing to the University of Iowa?s online exhibition of Paolo Mascagni’s Anatomia Universa. The “Zoomify” feature helps viewers see the fine detail each plate contains.

The university’s John Martin Rare Book Room collects “original works representing classic contributions to the history of the health sciences from the 15th through 20th Centuries.” Other online exhibits from the collection currently include Pietro Da Cortona’s Tabulae anatomicae and Johann Remmelin’s Catoptrum Microscopicum

The Cartoon Guide To Genetics

The Cartoon Guide To GeneticsFeatured in a UC Berkeley Library exhibit:

San Francisco artist Larry Gonick and UC Davis microbiologist Mark Wheelis use their artistic abilitiy and scientific knowledge to present a humorous look at genetics for a lay audience. Gonick has generously loaned The Bancroft Library the original art work for The Cartoon Guide to Genetics (1991).

Presented here are sections entitled “The Spiral Staircase” and “Genetic Engineering,” specifically referencing the work of Watson and Crick on the DNA double helix, and Cohen and Boyer on recombinant DNA.

Anatomical Collages by Frederick Sommer (Part 2)

Frederick Sommer (Part 2)Last December, I posted about the anatomical collages of Frederick Sommer. A couple days later, James Luckett was kind enough to share this memory of Sommer:

i actually got to spend a few days with frederick sommer a few years before he died. besides the collages, he was an art photographer — one of the last great living masters — but he did lots of different things. anyway, he said that the human body was so beautiful that it was possible to put it together in any way and still have something astonishing.

LSD Blotter Art Gallery

LSD Blotter Art Gallery“Black market LSD blotter generally bears art or a design printed on the paper. The paper is perforated into individual “tabs” or “hits” approximately 1/4 in. x 1/4 in. The sheets are then dipped in a solution containing a known quantity of LSD or have LSD applied with a dropper creating a relatively consistent dosage per tab.

“The creation of blotter has become an underground art form leading to an array of creative and stunning designs. It is likely that a few of the blotter designs shown have never been dipped and were created purely as art.

Below are scans and photos of more than 75 examples of blotter showing various designs and art. Some show entire sheets while others show only a few hits. Click on each thumbnail to see a larger image.”

Papier-M?ch? Anatomical Models

Papier-M?ch? Anatomical ModelsOnline companion site for an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

People have always sought better ways to illustrate and understand the structure and functions of the internal body. Before the discovery of x-rays in 1895, the only practical way to see inside the human body was to observe an operation or a dissection. Cultural and religious beliefs about dissection often made the practice illegal, and even when dissection was acceptable, cadavers were difficult to obtain.

“Moreover, lack of refrigeration meant that bodies decayed swiftly. Dissections had to be performed during the cooler months, and were impossible in warmer climates. Frustrated in his studies, a young French medical student devised an elegant solution — papier-mâché anatomical models.

Site includes a brief overview of anatomical education methods and a gallery page with enough material to give a sense of how much detail the creators were able to squeeze from this decidedly low-tech raw material.