Biology

Medical Illustration / GNSI Source Books

Biology, Engineering, Illustration, In the press

We just signed up to advertise in the Medical Illustration Source Book, after years of deliberation. It helped that they did a deal with advertising in the Natural Science Source Book too!  Fingers crossed that people love our pretty pictures….

Equinox advert in the Medical Illustration Source Book

Browse the Medical Source Book online (we’re on page 157)
Oh, and here’s us in the GNSI Natural Science source book too (2 pages!):

Equinox advert in GNSI source book
Equinox advert in GNSI source book

Browse the Natural Science Source Book online (we’re on pages 16-17):

CABI – glucoCEST MRI technique

Animation, Biology, Chemistry

CABI (part of UCL) have developed an MRI technique that utilises tumours’ aggressive uptake of sugar to identify themselves. The patient drinks a sugary drink, and then enters the MRI scanner, where they take advantage of the interchange of protons between water and sugar. Because the sugar is more strongly absorbed by the tumour, the size and location of the tumour can be accurately determined. This is a non-invasive, non-radioactive diagnostic technique.
We produced the animation below, detailing how the technique works.


More info here

SPL’s clip of the week (chrysalis)

Animation, Biology, In the press

Our visualisation of x-ray data of a chrysalis has just been chosen as Science Photo Library‘s clip of the week.
The animation shows a butterfly metamorphosis inside its chrysalis. This sequence was produced from reconstructed computed tomography (CT) scan data, showing the internal detail of a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. Initially the caterpillar’s internal organs are seen, mainly its digestive tract and the network of breathing tubes along its length. As the metamorphosis progresses, the internal structures become increasingly complex, and the eyes (far left) and wings of the butterfly become prominent.


See more of our chrysalis animations in this blog post.
SPL’s Clip of the Week
Our stock images at SPL
Our stock animations at SPL – part 1
Our stock animations at SPL – part 2

Synaesthesia illustration for Ionic Magazine

Biology, Illustration, In the press

Synaesthesia
Ionic Magazine is an online publication, which aims to bridge the gap between science and art, by pairing up science writers and illustrators to create an engaging publication full of creativity and imagination.
We produced an illustration for Issue 4, to accompany an article on synaesthesia, which is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. For example, sounds may be perceived as inherently coloured. In this representation, headphones show sound visually in purple. Other types of synaesthesia include attaching shapes and colours to different tastes and the personification of numbers, days, months and letters.

Synaesthesia
Read Issue 4
See our illustration on Flickr

Illustrations of synthetic biology for Synberc

Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Illustration

We produced a series of illustrations based around three key papers on synthetic biology for Synberc.  These are designed to communicate some of the key aspects of synthetic biology:


1-Illustration showing the concept of yeast cells as a chemical factory, which highlights one of the main uses of synthetic biology – harnessing cellular mechanics to our own purposes.

 


2-Illustration showing an anlogy of “survival of the fittest” with respect to genetic engineering. Multiple genes can be tweaked with each bacterium taking different combination – the most successful at each stage are selected and the process repeated. This guided randomness tests many mutations at once, and allows selection of desired traits e.g. increased production of a desired product within the bacterium.

 


3-Illustration showing the concept of how synthetic biology can be used to create analogies to electronic circuits, whereby the presence or otherwise of chemical inputs can drive a logic circuit, resulting in an action within the cell (e.g. colour change, production of a chemical marker, etc). Simple AND, NOT, and OR gates can be made and combined to produce useful results.

Easter Eggs Live – data visualisation

Animation, Biology, In the press

A series of visualisations we produced for Windfall Films’ show “Easter Eggs Live”, which aired on Channel 4 this Easter weekend.
We were given MRI and CT scans of various species’ eggs, and asked to visualise and animate these data to produce informative and clear visualisations to be used in the live tv programme.
We’ve shown four of the final shots below, along with a description of the data handling and visualisations we created.

SHOT 1) We took MRI scans of a chick inside its egg, traced out the chick and recreated it in 3D.  We then animated the chick to show its first break where it breaks through a membrane into the air pocked inside the egg to take its first breath.  It then starts pecking at the shell using a strong muscle on the back of its neck and its egg tooth.  By pecking and shuffling, it can break around the circumference of the egg, and then push its way out.
SHOT 2) We were given CT data of praying mantis eggs, from which we were able to segment the regions and produce this volume render, which fades and reveals the egg structure inside.
SHOT 3/4) We produced these two sequences using surface data (OBJs up to 3GB in size), and you can see the caterpillar, which has a digestive tract and network of breathing tubes along its length.  As the transformation progresses, you can see increasing internal complexity as the butterfly’s internal organs and external structures form.

Ionic Magazine – Issue 2

Biology, Illustration, In the press

Visualizing scientific breakthroughs
Ionic Magazine is an online publication, which aims to bridge the gap between science and art, by pairing up science writers and illustrators to create an engaging publication full of creativity and imagination.
We produced an illustration for Issue 2, to accompany an article on vascular disrupting agents.  These drugs are used disrupt the production of blood vessels around tumours – blood vessels which the tumour cells drive the growth of, to feed their insatiable demand for nutrients.


Read Issue 2
See our illustration on Flickr

Clinical Dementia Testing

Animation, Biology, In the press

Cambridge Cognition asked us to help them communicate the results from their clinical dementia tests in a clear, visual way.
We produced a series of animations and overlays, whereby a line-up of mannequins represents the subject’s peers (by age, sex) and the highlighted one represents the subject themselves.  Crucially, before the test begins, the subject is asked to estimate where on this line-up they think they will score, and after the clinical tests they are shown both their original estimate, and their actual score.  This gives the subject a clear indication of how they have performed relative to their own expectations, and relative to their peers.  The clean, simple visuals engage and inform the subject, with no need for numbers, graphs, etc.
BBC News have run a feature on the 10-minute dementia test online here.

 

Synthetic Biology Documentary – Creating Life (50 minutes)

Animation, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering

Here’s the synthetic biology documentary we had the pleasure of working on.  The documentary titled “Creating Life – The Ultimate Engineering Challenge,” by Kelly Neaves and Dominic Rees-Roberts, follows the Imperial College IGEM team (International Genetically Engineered Machine), as they discover how to engineer bacteria to perform specific tasks, and consider the implications of their work.  Our graphics help to illustrate some of the more abstract concepts, in what is a fairly technical documentary.