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Shelley Wall


Room 312, Health Sciences Complex


About Shelley Wall

Shelley teaches courses in pathological and bioscientific illustration, research methods in biomedical communication, and writing for healthcare. She is a faculty mentor with the Collaborative Graduate Program in Women's Health at the University of Toronto, and a member of the Coalition for Research in Women's Health at the Women's College Research Institute.

Shelley is co-editor, for the Association of Medical Illustrators, of the Journal of Biocommunication. In 2012, she co-organised the conference Comics & Medicine: Navigating the Margins, which was held July 22-24 at the University of Toronto.

Research Interests

  • Medical humanities
  • Visual narrative; sequential art and health communication
  • Biomedical representations of sex and gender, including the embryology of sexual differentiation and disorders of sex development (DSD)
  • Contemporary and historical visual practices in relation to women’s health
  • Medical illustration in the mid-twentieth century
  • Health literacy and plain language; best practices in writing and illustrating for patient education

Visual Media

To see examples of Shelley’s work, visit the Faculty section of our Showcase.


  •  Di Noto, P.,  Newman, L., Wall, S. Einstein, G. 2012. The hermunculus: What is known about the representation of the female body in the brain? Cerebral Cortex. Advance Access published April 17, 2012, doi:10:1093/cercor/bhs005.
  • Wall, S. 2010. Humane images: Visual rhetoric in depictions of atypical genital anatomy and sex differentiation. Medical Humanities 36(2): 80-83.
  • Wall, S. 2010. Mid-twentieth-century anatomical transparencies and the depiction of three-dimensional form. Clinical Anatomy 23: 915-921.
  • Polk, J. and S. Wall. 2010. Nancy Grahame Joy: Envisioning our future. Journal of Biocommunication35(3): E67-E83.
  • Wall, S. 2009. Visualizing sexual differentiation: The rhetoric of diagrams. In Graphing genes, cells and embryos: Cultures of seeing 3D and beyond. Edited by Sabine Brauckmann, Christina Brandt and Denis Thieffry. Berlin: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
  • Wall, S. 2009. The view from inside: Gendered embodiment and the medical representation of sex. InCritical Interventions in the Ethics of Healthcare. Edited by Stuart J. Murray and Dave Holmes. London: Ashgate.
  • Cheng, A., L. Wilson-Pauwels, D. Mazierski, and S. Wall. 2008. Using the principles of interactive cartography to communicate the mechanisms of migraine pain. Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine 31(3): 103-109.
  • Wall, S, M.J. Wiley, B.J. Neilson, J. Jenkinson, G. Tait, D.J.Bägli. 2008. Designing a web-based clinical counseling tool about disorders of sex development. Journal of Biocommunication 34(1).


Selected Presentations

  • Wall, S. 2012. Shaping the intersex body. Sensualising Deformity conference, University of Edinburgh, June 15-16.
  • Wall, S. 2011. Visual narrative strategies in medical and scientific illustration. 23rd Association Européenne des Illustrateurs Médicaux et Scientifiques (AEIMS) Congress, Strasbourg, France, November 4.
  • Wall, S. 2011. Anatomical Transparencies: Artistry and Innovation. Annual meeting of the Association of Medical Illustrators, Baltimore, Maryland, July 23.
  • What it’s like: Articulating Parkinson’s disease through visual narrative. Comics & Medicine: The Sequential Art of Illness conference, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, June 11, 2011.
  • Pub(l)ic identities: Reading medical representations of sex. Public lecture, Observatory gallery and event space, Brooklyn, New York, May 28, 2011.
  • Wall, S., J. Jenkinson, W. Hiller Gee and S. Seif. Health literacy: Opportunities and challenges for biomedical communicators. Panel presentation, annual meeting of the Association of Medical Illustrators, Portland, Oregon, July 31, 2010.
  • Medical illustration and the cultural imaginary: A practitioner’s perspective. Science and Technology Studies @ York Research Seminar series, York University, Toronto, Ontario, November 10, 2009.
  • The art and technology of anatomical transparencies. Association Européenne des Illustrateurs Médicaux et Scientifiques (AEIMS) congress, Milan, Italy, November 6, 2009.
  • Drawn from death: Maternal and fetal corpses in 18th-century obstetrical atlases. The John Douglas Taylor Conference: The Iconography of Death, McMaster University, Hamilton, October 25, 2008.
  • Animating the embryology of sex development and DSD for paediatric counseling. Education Affairs Symposium, 25th Meeting of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists, Toronto, July 16, 2008.
  • Difference engines: Using Flash programming to visualize the hormone cascade leading to sex differentiation and its variants in the embryo. Workshop: Cultures of Seeing 3D and Beyond. Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany, June 13, 2008.
  • Cross-cultural considerations in illustrating female anatomy. Medicine and Creativity: How do practitioners contribute to creative approaches to global health? 6th Annual Global Health Research Conference – Convergence of Art and Science: Global Health Perspectives, Toronto, June 3, 2008.
  • Picturing “normal”: Can conventions in medical illustration influence attitudes toward disorders of sex development? From Gene to Gender: 2nd International Symposium on Disorders of Sex Development (DSD). Luebeck, Germany, 2006.

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