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Nick Woolridge


Room 314, Health Sciences Complex


About Nick Woolridge

In 1996 Nick received his MSc from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. The topic of his thesis was the development and formative evaluation of a semi-immersive clinical simulation for medical students, which had been funded by SPAR Aerospace. He is currently a tenured Associate Professor in and Director of Biomedical Communications. He conducts research in the development of digital media as instruments of biomedical research, teaching, and patient assistance. He is the co-author of Anatomy 300/303 Interactive Lab Companion, as well as co-author (with Jason Sharpe and Charles Lumsden) of the recent In Silico: 3D Animation and Simulation of Cell Biology with Maya and MEL.

Research Interests

  • Scalable render complexity approaches
  • Biological modeling
  • Information and data visualization (psychiatry, mood disorders; risk visualization)
  • Salience/relevance in scientific images


Crowd-sourcing salience ratings for scientific images. A project with Bang Wong (Broad Institute) and Kathy Takayama (Brown University) funded by the National Science Foundation. Our project seeks to assess salience/relevance discordance in a group of scientific images, and develop methodologies for educators to evaluate the presence of such biases. We have enlisted domain experts to rate the relevance of regions in a series of test images; following this, image salience ratings will be crowd-sourced from a large sample of non-expert users using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Ultimately, we hope that the impact of the study will be to reveal common image biases that affect salience/relevance discordance in a systematic way, and to introduce to the science visualization community an inexpensive and useful way test perceptual responses to visualization designs with large sample populations.

Communicating risk information to oncology patients: a novel media-based approach. A project with Jodie Jenkinson and Shelley Wall, in collaboration with Cooler Solutions, and funded by FEDDEV Canada. This collaboration was launched to gain a better understanding of how oncology patients make treatment decisions, and to explore different methods of effectively communicating risk factors to patients. The objectives of the collaboration were to create a software tool that visualizes the risks and benefits of various cancer therapies so that patients can make informed treatment choices.

Illustrating Medicine: Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy. A project with Kim Sawchuk (Concordia University), Nina Czegledy (KMDI), Brian Sutherland (BMC), and others, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This project sought to create a digital database and a body of scholarly documentation on the original artworks for Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy (1st edition 1943); these artworks are housed at the University of Toronto.

Visual Media

For examples of Nick’s work visit the Showcase.


  • 2013                Woolridge N. Drawing a line in the mind; Some reflections on the fundamental nature of linear depiction. Journal of Biocommunication. (In Revision)
  • 2012                Woolridge N. To cut, or not to cut. Journal of Biocommunication. Vol. 38, 2012.
  • 2011                Sawchuk K., Woolridge N. and Jenkinson J. Illustrating Medicine: Line, Luminance and the Lessons from J.C.B. Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy (1943). Visual Communication. August, 2011. 10: 442-468.
  • 2009                Manassis K, Mendlowitz S, Kreindler D, Lumsden C, Sharpe J, Simon MD, Woolridge N, Monga S, Adler-Nevo G. Mood assessment via animated characters: a novel instrument to evaluate feelings in young children with anxiety disorders. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology). 06/2009; 38(3):380-9.
  • 2009                Crossingham J, Jenkinson J, Woolridge N, Gallinger S, Tait G, and Moulton CA. Interpreting Three-dimensional Structures from Two-dimensional Images: A web-based interactive 3D teaching module of surgical liver anatomy. HPB. 11(6) 523-528.
  • 2009                Visscher, KL, Woolridge N, Jenkinson J, Kain KC. Effectiveness of Timeline Pacing as a Post-production Cueing Strategy. Journal of Biocommunication. 35 (1).
  • 2008                Sharpe J, Lumsden CJ, Woolridge N. “In Silico: 3D Animation and Simulation of Cell Biology with Maya and MEL”. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco.
  • 2007                Wilson-Pauwels L, Bacjar J, Woolridge N., and Jenkinson J. Biomedical Communications: Collaborative Research in Scientific Visualization, Online Learning, and Knowledge Translation. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 81(2).
  • 2006                van Furth WR, Agur AMR, Woolridge N, Cusimano MD. The Orbitozygomatic Approach. Neurosurgery 58(1) (Operative Neurosurgery Supplement 1):ONS-103-ONS-107, February 2006.
  • 2005                Semple JL, Lumsden CJ, Woolridge N. In Vitro, In Vivo, In Silico: Computational Systems in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine; A Review. Tissue Engineering. Mar 2005, Vol. 11, No. 3-4: 341-356


  • 2013-2104       Kreindler D, Levitt A, Boydell K, Woolridge N, Liberman K. Mental Health Telemetry for Self-Management in Major Depression. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Catalyst Grant: eHealth Innovations: $ 96,207.
  • 2012- 2014      Kreindler D, Levitt A, Lumsden CJ, Woolridge N, Using Mental Health Telemetry to Predict Relapse and Re-hospitalization in Mood Disorders.  Academic Health Science Centres AFP Innovation Fund Grant. $99,989 (Yr 1: $76,511; Yr 2: $23,378)
  • 2011-2014       Wong, B, Takayama, K, Woolridge N. Crowd-sourcing salience ratings for scientific images. National Science Foundation. Sept. 1 2011- August 31, 2012. $6,000 USD.
  • 2011-2012       Woolridge N, Wall S, Jenkinson J. Communicating risk information to oncology patients: a novel media-based approach. July 1, 2011. FEDDEV ARC Canada. $50,000.
  • 2008-2011       Sawchuk K (PI), Czegledy N, Woolridge N: Illustrating Medicine: Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy. May 1 2008. $107,000 for 3 years. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
  • 2008-2010       Kreindler D, Lumsden CJ, Levitt A, and Woolridge N. Calling for Care: Cell Phones for Mood Telemetry in Adolescent Mood Disorders. Operating Grant from Motorola Canada’s Raise Your Voice program ($83,247 + approx. $8,000 in-kind). 2008-2010.
  • 2005                Wilson-Pauwels L (co-P.I.), Bajcar J (co-P.I), Etchells E, Paton T, Bacher M, U D, Woolridge N, Jenkinson J, Brierley M, Sutherland B.Green Shield Canada  $51,131 Research Evaluation of an innovative technology-based medication organizer for patients and their health-care providers to reduce adverse events following hospital discharge.
  • 2005                Woolridge N, Sharpe J, Lumsden CJ. Cell invasions: Visual computing, health, and cancer. SIGGRAPH 2005 Animation Theater. Los Angeles, CA.
  • 2004-2007       Woolridge N (co-P.I.), Lumsden CJ (co-P.I.). Interpretive Visualization: Understanding cell systems dynamics through computer animation. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Collaborative Research and Development Grant. $100,000 matching $100,000 from Bell Canada University Laboratories. $45,000 year II allocation from NSERC.


  •  2010 Woolridge N. Oral Presentation: “Drawing a line in the mind: how line drawings work”. Medical Illustration Graduate Program at the Medical College of Georgia Exchange Seminar. Augusta Georgia, April 22.
  • 2010 Woolridge, N. “Molecular Animation: An Idiosyncratic View of The Challenges”. Presented at the Molecular Animation Workshop, sponsored by the National Center for Macromolecular Imaging. UCSF, San Francisco, California. February 25th.
  • 2009 Woolridge, N. “Integrating Art, Science and Health: Visualization”. Cultural Knowledge and the Healthy Society: Research and Innovation Summit. Ontario College of Art and Design. Toronto, ON. November 24th.
  • 2009 Woolridge, N. “Visual Strategies: Supporting Learning in Science and Medicine”. KMDI@13 Lecture Series. Knowledge Media Design Institute. Toronto, ON. November 12th.
  • 2008 Woolridge, N. “Depictive Options When Visualizing Molecules”. Association of Medical Illustrators Annual Meeting, Indianapolis Indiana, July, 2008.
  • 2008 Wilson-Pauwels L(presenter and organizer), Woolridge N, Jenkinson J, Dryer M, Wall S. “Biomedical Communications: Exploring the visual communication of science and medicine”. American Association of Clinical Anatomists. Delta Chelsea Hotel, Toronto (90 minute plenary presentation).
  • 2008 Woolridge N. “Visual Stories of Science: Cell Biology Animation and Simulation”. Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
  • 2008 Woolridge, N. “Design Knowledge: Constraint and Innovation”. Design Research Seminar Series, Knowledge Media Design Institute, University of Toronto. March 6, 2008.
  • 2008 Woolridge, N. “Advanced Animation and Graphics for Data Information and Visualization”. New Ways of Teaching and Learning Colloquium. Knowledge Innovation & Technology Lab (KITL), Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Feb. 7, 2008.
  • 2006 Woolridge, N. “Manipulating stereochemical protein structures as point clouds”. Annual Meeting of the Association of Medical Illustrators. August 4, 2006. Boston, Massachusetts. Invited.
  • 2005 Woolridge N. Molecular Visualization Techniques; AMI 3D User’s Group Meeting. Association of Medical Illustrators Annual Meeting. Thousand Oaks, California. July 30, 2005.

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