IMMPress Magazine January 2013 Cover illustrated by Inessa Stanishevskaya 1T3
“This issue of the IMMPress Magazine focused on evolution – of the immune system, the department, and the field of immunology as a whole. The cover was designed to focus on the evolution of the immune system (the adaptive system in particular) through the representation of a phylogenetic tree and the immune systems of various classes of animals. It was meant to highlight some of the differences between the innate and adaptive immune systems and the key proteins and receptors that are responsible for each.
For example insects, echinoderms, and jawless vertebrates only have the innate immune system and depend on proteins and receptors such as DSCAM, spRAG1l and spRAG2l, and VLR, respectively (depicted as the green ribbon structures). Animals that also possess the adaptive immune system, such as cartilaginous fish, bony fish, birds, and mammals, rely on various immunoglobulin subtypes, which are shown in blue. In addition, the background cutouts display receptors that also play key roles within each of the immune systems, such as TLR for the innate system and TCR, MHCI, and MHCII for the adaptive system.
To visualize this topic, I wanted to highlight the variety of proteins that are specific to each class of animals by having the representative animal “interacting” with their respective protein structures. Additionally, by representing the innate immune system proteins in their raw ribbon conformations versus the more ordered structure of the immunoglobulins of the adaptive system (in blue) it would help to highlight the fact that the adaptive system is the more evolved of the two. I also wanted to incorporate some of the key molecules that are vital to each of the immune systems and chose to represent them as background cutouts because they are the essential elements in generating diversity in each of the systems.”
Stanishevskaya, a Year II Biomedical Communications graduate student, has a B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering with a focus in tissue engineering.